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Tips for keeping children & teens safe online

As technology advances, children are more exposed to the internet than ever before. While the internet can provide endless opportunities for learning and entertainment, it can also expose children to various online risks. Therefore, it's essential to teach kids how to be safe online. Here are some tips on keeping kids safe online:

Children need to understand the dangers of the internet and how to avoid them. Teach them the importance of keeping their personal information private and not sharing it online. Help them to keep their accounts secure and teach them not to share passwords - even with friends.

Explain the risks of communicating with strangers online, and encourage them to only communicate with people they know in real life. Ensure they understand that only some people they meet online are who they say they are.

They need to know when they post something online, it is there forever - even if they delete it. They must understand the same for private messages they send.

Be involved in your child's online life. Discuss safety online as you would discuss safety in real life. Watch for changes in your child's general mood and behaviour; a change may indicate something is happening in their online life (e.g. bullying, harassment, intimidation, access to age-inappropriate content). Ensure your child knows they can come to you if anything happens online that upsets them/scares them/worries them.

Set rules for internet use:

Establish rules for internet usage in your home, including when, where, and for how long your child can use the internet. Make sure they understand that the internet is a privilege, not a right. Create age-appropriate guidelines for the websites and apps they can use, and monitor their online activity regularly.

Examples of rules could include things like; ‘no technology in the bedroom at night-time’ or ‘no devices at the dinner table’. Simple rules like this teach children that technology has a place within our lives but that it does not, or should not, rule our lives. It is important to lead by example and follow these rules also. Manners online and appropriate use of technology should be for everyone in the family.

Use parental controls:

Most devices and internet service providers have built-in parental control features that you can use to limit your child's access to inappropriate content. Parental control features allow you to restrict access to certain websites, apps, and content. Antivirus software is also a good idea to help protect your child's device from malware and other online threats.

Monitor your child's online activity:

Monitor your child's online activity and check their browser history regularly. It's also a good idea to review their social media profiles and ensure they are not publicly sharing personal information. Talk to them about any concerning online interactions they may have had and address any issues immediately.

Encourage open communication:

Encourage your child to talk to you if they feel uncomfortable or threatened online. Let them know that they can come to you with any concerns or questions they may have. Create a safe and open environment for discussion where they feel comfortable discussing their online experiences without fear of punishment or judgment.

In conclusion, keeping children safe online requires education, rules, and monitoring. As a parent or caregiver, you are responsible for protecting your child from online threats and teaching them how to be safe online. Following these tips can help your child navigate the internet safely and responsibly.

Snap Chat

Snapchat is a popular social media app among teenagers, and while it can be fun, it can also pose risks to a child's safety. Here's a guide on how to keep your child safe on Snapchat:

Set up privacy settings:

Snapchat has several privacy settings that you can adjust to limit who can see your child's snaps and stories. These settings include:

  • Who can send them snaps

  • Who can view their story

  • Who can see their location

  • Who can contact them

Ensure your child's privacy settings are set to "Friends Only" or "My Friends Except" to prevent strangers from contacting or seeing their snaps and stories.

Monitor their contacts:

Regularly check your child's friend list and remove any strangers or suspicious accounts. Encourage your child only to add people they know in real life and have a conversation with them if they add someone new.

Teach them to be cautious about sharing personal information:

Snapchat encourages users to share content that disappears after a set amount of time, which can lead to a false sense of security. However, it's essential to remind your child that anything they share can still be screenshot or saved by others. Please encourage them to avoid sharing personal information, such as their full name, address, phone number, location or school name.

Discuss the dangers of sharing sensitive content:

Snapchat is known for its disappearing messages feature, making it a popular app for sending explicit photos or videos. However, remind your child that this can have long-lasting consequences. Have a conversation with them about the dangers of sharing these type of images, including the potential for blackmail, humiliation, or legal consequences. Remind them that just because something 'disappears' doesn't mean it's gone - and that once it is posted it is very difficult to control what happens to it.

Encourage open communication:

Create a safe environment for your child to talk to you about their online experiences. Encourage them to come to you if they feel uncomfortable or threatened online. Keep the lines of communication open, and let them know that you are there to support them and help them navigate any issues they may encounter.

Snapchat can be a fun and entertaining app, but taking precautions is essential to ensure your child's safety. Following these tips and openly communicating with your child can help them enjoy the app while staying safe online.

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