There is a huge amount of information on the web that is incredibly useful, but it’s also shockingly easy to find explicit content that you would not want your children to find. Many of these websites are deliberately misleading. Google and other search engines do their best to banish these spammy sites from their listings, but some still find their way through. While many of us can quickly assess whether a site is helpful or appropriate, younger audiences may not have the same ability to judge.
What can parents do to protect their children from the darker side of the internet?
The first thing you can do is set up parental controls to block out such content. Most UK broadband providers provide FREE parental controls including:
If your broadband provider is not listed here, you can give them a call to find out how to set up parental controls on your Home Broadband Network.
If you want to be more in control of what your child can and cannot access, it is also worth setting up the parental controls and filters yourself on each of the services and devices they will be using. Here are some easy ways to restrict access to inappropriate content on popular services:
Search Engines can give us access to hordes of information in a matter of seconds, but some of that information may prompt inappropriate results. To set up filters on Google to prevent access to inappropriate search results simply visit Google Preferences and set the Safesearch feature on.
If your computer has different user accounts or Google accounts, one of which is used specifically for your child, then ensure that preferences are made on their account.
YouTube does its best to block all sexually explicit and inappropriate content, but you can prevent your child from accessing these as long as you have a YouTube account.
– Go to your Accounts page on Youtube
– Scroll down the page and change the Safety option to ON
Then ensure that your child only accesses You Tube via this account and not through the browser.
However, please be aware that savvy children may work out that they can turn Safety ‘off’ again in YouTube without a password. We understand that YouTube are working on a range of ways to improve the experience of YouTube for children in 2015, including providing stronger safety functionality such as a dedicated YouTube Kids app- we will let you know more when we do.
Setting up restrictions on Search Engines and on your child’s web activities is a great way to ensure that their experiences online are safe and enjoyable. But it doesn’t stop there. Communication is key, so sit down with your children and explain to them what has been blocked and why, to help them to become responsible digital citizens. As part of Internet Safety Day, we’d also link to share with you all the useful resources that you can find right here in order to find out how to keep your child safe online and prevent them from downloading illegal content and material off the Internet and sharing it.