A Child-Friendly Online Environment
The Challenge With so much negative press over the last few years surrounding the evils of the internet, it’s easy to see why the subject of children going online causes a lot of anxiety for so many people. As a parent myself, my child’s safety is paramount. I want them to have access to all the wonderful and amazing things the internet has to offer, and I want to know it’s happening in as safe an environment as possible.
In the past, keeping internet access safe and friendly has presented a challenge. It’s always been possible, but for many people the means to do so have not be so easily accessible. Fortunately, this is no longer the case, which means that with a little effort and time we can all be surfing the web in relative safety.
Helpful Resources There are several websites that provide a wealth of useful information, in easy-to-follow, step-by-step instructions on how to protect your computer and its users while online.
One of the most comprehensive resources is the website of the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), who work in conjunction with the UK Safer Internet Centre, InternetMatters, O2, and others. They have free tools and advice available for all levels of ability, and a section dedicated to schools and teachers.
A Parental Controls section gives outline information on setting up access through your broadband provider, and features links to other organisations’ websites, e.g. UK Safer Internet Centre and InternetMatters, who can give device-specific information for setting up your own broadband equipment.
Another particularly useful reference is NetAware, a site dedicated to child safety online. After surveying over 2000 children it details the social networks and apps that children are using the most, along with in-depth reviews, age ratings, and more. There’s even a search facility to quickly find an app, site or game that you want to know about. To keep you informed while you’re on the move they also have an app that you can download for your Android or iPhone device.
NetAware were also winners of the Digital Safety Award of the Best Product or Service for Parents. Well worth a look.
For mobile devices, if you’re using an Android phone or tablet, you can setup a Google account for children under 13 via the Family Link app. For iPhone and iPad users there’s the Family Sharing feature. For Windows 10 devices and Xbox One consoles, Microsoft provide their Microsoft Family feature.
The most popular internet browsers, Edge and Chrome, offer a ‘SafeSearch’ feature, designed to protect users from the worst of the internet. Setting these up is very straightforward:
In Chrome, visit google.com/preferences. Put a tick in the ‘Turn on SafeSearch’ box. Click on the ‘Lock SafeSearch’ link - you’ll need to login to your Google account at this point. Once you’ve logged in, confirm this action by clicking the ‘Lock SafeSearch’ button.
For Bing, visit bing.com/account/general. Select Strict or Moderate from the SafeSearch levels. Unfortunately, there is no easy way to lock this feature on.
UK Safer Internet Centre - https://www.saferinternet.org.uk
InternetMatters – https://www.internetmatters.org
NSPCC - https://www.nspcc.org.uk/
O2 - https://www.o2.co.uk/help/nspcc
EE - https://ee.co.uk/our-company/corporate-responsibility/keeping-children-safe-online
BT - https://www.btplc.com/Purposefulbusiness/Safetyandsecurity/Childinternetsafety
Apple Family Sharing - https://support.apple.com/en-au/ht201084
Google Family - https://support.google.com/families/answer/7103338?hl=en
Microsoft Family - https://support.microsoft.com/en-us/help/12413
Chrome SafeSearch Settings - https://www.google.com/preferences
Bing SafeSearch Settings - https://www.bing.com/account/general
If you’d like any help with or information on creating a safe online environment for your child, please drop me a line at firstname.lastname@example.org, or use the contact link at the top of this page to send me a message.
As an experienced IT Consultant with fingers placed in many pies over the years, I can provide you with reliable, expert advice and services.
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