Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Child safety - the Internet

Since writing my post last week about Chester asking for an iPad for his 5th birthday, and taking on board the opinions I got from it, I have been doing lots of thinking about Internet security. As an adult, I know what sites to steer clear from, what to avoid clicking on to and what 'friends' to ignore.But how would I prevent my children from clicking on the wrong things. What is the best approach to take with it all? 

Chester at the moment is allowed to use my laptop and my phone to play games occasionally, but somehow, a little while ago he worked out how to get onto youtube and watch videos of toy unveilings. Mainly those ones about plastic eggs with surprise toys inside. He loves them! But I am we'll aware that if it was that easy to get onto YouTube in the first place, it is going to be just as easy to click through to all sorts of other videos. 

Whilst I am happy for him to watch these toy videos, I would not want him to watch much else. What sites are you happy for your Children to use? Where do you draw the line? 

Obviously at the age of (almost 5) I would not allow him to access other social media channels such as Facebook or Twitter, but what age should I be thinking about letting him access those, and more to the point how do I stop him? I know of people have let their children have Facebook accounts at the age of 8, I do not think I would be happy with that. I mean kids are so easily led, especially at that young age. For instance, Chester has a Moshi Monster account online and he has had many 'friends' add him. Whilst the Moshi Monster site is pretty harmless, he was very excited to see that total strangers wanted to be his friends. This concerns me and I always watch over him when he is playing on it. 

I have been searching online and found a couple of interesting articles. Norton have got some great tips on their website to keep kids safe online. Such as looking into parental control settings, which can be added to computers, laptops, tablets and even mobile phones. We actually do not have parental control options on most of our devices (apart from Craig's mobile) and after reading the article I have looked into it further and discovered that there is a FREE app that you can download called Norton Family (or for a cost, Norton Family Premier) which is specifically aimed at parents. Features include an easy to use activity report that shows you websites that have been visited, it allows you to block certain websites and even allows you to restrict their time on the Internet. Pretty good don't you think?! 

The other article I read was on PC advisor, it quite rightly states that children these days have grown up with the Internet and do not know what life was like without it. They quite often learn how to use a touch pad before they can read or write. If you read my blog post last week you will know that this is indeed true of Chester. Who can correctly type his name and certain other words on a touch pad or the laptop keyboard. It presses again, on the gaming sites such as Moshi Monsters and advises that you should still be monitoring your children on those types of sites, even though they claim to be safe. I agree and will carry on watching over him play this and other games online. 

Both articles have opened my eyes a bit further and given me lots to think about. Whilst, as I stated in my previous post, we would never get Chester an iPad at this age, I do feel a bit more informed and confident about getting him a cheaper tablet and making sure we have followed the steps to secure it as much as we can BEFORE we give it to him. 

What are your thoughts on Internet security for children? Do you implement the parental control settings? 

Article collaboration.

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