Both my children have their own tablets, at the age of 4, Harry’s is a basic Kids Kindle which he uses for the games we have downloaded for him and to watch either YouTube Kids or Netflix. He is signed into his own profile for this tablet for which we have set the parental controls up for – he can access only these few things, there are no games with in-app purchases available and his Netflix profile will only allow him to see programmes suitable for ages 6 and under. He has no access to anything else and no web access at all.
Emmy has a couple of different devices, a Kindle for reading her books, which we have preloaded for her, a Kindle Fire and an EE Robin tablet. As she is 7 we are aware that her needs are different to Harry’s. She has been using the school computers in class for almost 2 years now and likes to look things up on the internet for her homework and for the numerous questions she has – while we do answer these questions she asks us we also like to encourage her to try to find out the answers herself and then we have a discussion about them. This helps her to want to keep asking questions and in turn encourages her independent learning – independent learning on the internet for children however isn’t without issues and as parents we really do need to be clued up in order to protect our children.
Just think about how many times you personally may have typed something quickly into google without thinking too much, mistyped something only to be greeted by something completely different from what you were expecting. The internet can be a scary place at times and it is our job to keep our children safe from it the best we can.
With Safer Internet Day just passed, schools all over the country have been helping to teach children a few rules to help keep them safe, they have been making this fun for our children and y introducing these rules early it help to stop children stumbling across the pictures etc. we certainly don’t want them seeing. One of the things Emmy has picked up is to type “for kids” or “for children” after her searches, so if she is searching for information on the titanic (her school topic) she would type “fact about the titanic for kids” – this then brings up information which is geared for children, means the language should be appropriate and to a certain extent it will be safe for her to view (of course it isn’t fool proof but it is a good place to start).
In a recent European study* of 5040 children aged 10-15 conducted by global cyber security company, Kaspersky, discovered some alarming stats about how children are using the internet, and how they may not be protecting themselves as they should.
Over two thirds of the children said they had heard bad language on the internet, while a third said they had witnessed violence online, with a quarter saying they had viewed pornography online.
One in five children admitted their parents set no rules about how they used the internet at home and two-thirds of the respondents said they would know how to hide something from their parents that they were looking at online.
This video shows real children talking about what they like on the internet and what scares them about it…
Of course, Emmy is still very young so we do use the internet together and when she is on her tablet alone she plays games or watches Netflix, we’ve also set the parental controls for her tablets, limiting which sites she has access to, making her Netflix profile age appropriate (she can only watch shows geared for children aged 9 and under) and ensuring there are no chatroom features to the games she has and no in-app purchases either. Each of their tablets has a ‘timer’ function too which we can set meaning they can only use then for x amount of time per day – once the time has been used up they have to wait until the following day to use them again. Neither Emmy or Harry spend a great deal of time on their tablets really but I am sure once they get older this will change – my niece and nephews are permanently attached to their devices so I have it all to come!
Once they are older and are using it more unsupervised I would look into Kaspersky Safe Kids which is a downloadable app that helps you protect your children in this digital world, on their iPhones, iPads, Macs and Computers. For just £14.99 for a year’s subscription you can stay connected with your kids and be sure they are in a safe place. For more information about Kaspersky Safe Kids, please visit iTunes.
Important rules to teach children when using the internet:
- Never give out your full name, address, phone number or school information (ask parental permission if it is asked for at any time)
- Never give out passwords, bank account details etc.
- Don’t respond to messages which may you feel uncomfortable or uneasy
- Tell an adult (parent, guardian, teacher etc.) if you see anything inappropriate or which make you feel uneasy
- Never send out a picture of yourself without parental permission
- Only talk to your friends online and don’t accept friend requests from those you don’t know – this can be when gaming or social media sites
- Never arrange to meet someone you’ve met online – always make sure someone knows where you are and take an adult with you
These are just a few things which can help to keep our children safe. Our school is inviting parents in following Safer Internet Day to give parents more helpful advice which is certainly a very good idea especially as our children are becoming far more tech savvy than we were at their age.
*Study conducted for Berkeley on behalf of Kaspersky carried out in September 2016. 5040 children aged 10-15 years in Germany, Spain, Benelux, Italy and France who go online and have access at home to an internet connected smart device (tablet/smartphone) whether their own or a family owned one.
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