Staying safe online

October 3, 2016 10:42 am Published by

As a parent, nanny, or caregiver of a child you are expected to protect be aware of the child’s activities and whereabouts, and will make decisions to keep them healthy and safe. These days many children are typically considered digital natives — one of the first generations born into a world with the Internet and advanced, digital technology. They grow up with equal involvement in both the physical and the digital world. As a parent, nanny or caregiver it is important to be aware of a child’s online activities and interactions, as they can influence the child’s health and safety.

While there are risks that come with online activity, here are some tips on how you can protect children and young adults from any cyber dangers. It’s can be hard to talk about how some people are dishonest, mean or inappropriate — especially with innocent, naive kids — but it’s important to have these discussions with them. As a nanny or parent, here’s some advice on how to approach issues like these below.

Cyber Bullying

Bullying has moved from the hallways of schools into the realms of cyberspace in recent years. Cyber bullying occurs through texting, social media, online chat rooms and other websites. A staggering 7,296 counselling sessions with young people focus on online bullying and safety last year according to NSPCC.

What to do;

  • Don’t be afraid to ‘befriend’ your own child or children who you care for (Nannies and caregivers seek permission from the parents first if you are considering doing this, maybe explain your concerns and why you think it would benefit their children). Being a ‘friend’ on social media sites will allow you to monitor and identify any negative interactions.
  • Talk to them about Cyber Bullying and gauge their understanding of this. Explain to them the seriousness of it and make them aware you are there to support them if they ever experience it.
  • Put in restrictions as to what sites they are allowed to use and if they are on social media sites make sure their profiles are private so that the general public can’t view them or contact them.

Identity Theft

It is not uncommon for marketing companies to target children and when they do so they want to gain information which is personal to that user. They will do this by promoting games, questionnaires etc to collect their data. Not always but sometimes this information is used in a fraudulent manner. So it is important to raise awareness of this with children so that they don’t give out personal information online.If the child is old enough, talk about the risk of identity theft and how it can result in major financial damages.

Inappropriate Content

One of the biggest downsides to the internet for children is that there is a whole world of inappropriate information available at the click of a button. Websites don’t necessarily come with ratings, which means a parent or nanny should closely supervise a child’s online browsing. It is highly recommended that parental control software is put in place so you can control and limit what sites are accessible by the children. PC Adviser has put together a list of the best parental control software that is available in the UK that will filter and block specific sites, words or images; block outgoing content, like personal identifiable information; limit screen time; and provide monitoring tools that access a child’s Web activity and history.Tools such as this can help you take back some of the control as to what your children see online and help protect them against inappropriate material which could cause distress or upset.

Jamie Oliver recommends the Ourpact app for setting up parental controls on your children’s devices.It allows you to restrict what they can view and also the time they can access the internet which gives you back some control over what they can see and do on the internet.





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This post was written by Natalie Weller