A Guide for Safeguarding Children’s Devices

Safeguarding children’s devices is an essential part of parenting today. Most kids use an iPad or computer regularly, and many have a mobile phone of their own. 

Online dangers include contact with strangers, exposure to inappropriate content and cyber attacks. While most parents are concerned about online risks, many are not taking the necessary steps to safeguard their child’s devices.

Follow these steps to ensure your child is protected online.

Set Parental Controls 

Parental controls allow you to determine what your child has access to. By setting controls you can be assured they are not accessing inappropriate websites, games or other content.  

You can use the in-built settings on your child’s devices or make use of your ISP’s services. Operating systems, internet browsers, search engines, chat software and video streaming sites also offer options for parental control. You’ll need to do a little research to work out what’s best for your needs.

Apply Privacy Settings 

Privacy is a major concern when children start using social media. It’s very important to teach your child how to keep their accounts private so that only friends and family can view their posts. 

Take the time to explore the privacy settings together and read the terms and conditions for different sites. Also ensure no personal contact information is visible on their profile. 

Disable Location Services

Most devices, networks and apps have a geo-tagging feature which gives the users location, posing a potential safety risk. These features need to be turned off to avoid revealing your child’s whereabouts. 

Metadata, including location, can also be recorded on digital photos. Not all social media platforms automatically remove this data, so it pays to be aware of how to turn geo-tagging off for different platforms.

Install Monitoring Apps

In addition to parental controls which limit access to content, there are a range of applications parents can download to monitor children’s internet use. The basic ones allow you to view your child’s search engine and website history. Others give parents the ability to listen to calls, view text messages and track a child’s location. 

It’s recommended that parents use these apps with care and advise children they are being monitored. If your child finds out you’ve been spying on them, it can damage their trust.

Discuss Online Behaviour 

You need to set the tone early for online behaviour to avoid issues. Remind your child that even when they think their posts are only visible to family and friends, anything posted online can potentially become available to everyone.

Make sure your child knows how to check photos to ensure no personal information is revealed before posting online. It’s also vital to talk about cyber attacks and educate children to recognise suspicious links so they don’t click on them. 

Stay Up-to-date

Technology is constantly evolving and to keep up you need to make the effort. You can do this by regularly visiting websites such as Parent Guides, which is run by a non-profit organisation to help keep parents informed. 

Another great way to stay up-to-date is by simply asking your child about the latest platforms. If your child wants to join, do some research or create your own account to learn how the settings work.

Safeguarding children’s devices is an ongoing responsibility.