The Internet has become a wonderful resource for kids. Whether they use it for their homework, playing games, entertainment or social networking – they have access to a whole new world that allows them to learn, grow and occupy their time.
However, there is also a concern related to children and their use of the Internet. There are many, many websites none of us would want our kids to see. One of the biggest challenges parents face is how to make sure their children stay safe online and avoid inappropriate content, and with so many kids now using tablets, smartphones and PCs, it’s becoming harder and harder to know what they’re exposed to.
So, whether you’re worried about what kids might see on YouTube, or who they might speak to on Facebook, we have some tips for keeping them safe online.
How do I stop inappropriate content online?
A recent study by Oxford University revealed that out of 515 12-to-15-year-old children, 14% had a negative online experience in the past year, 8% had been contacted by strangers, almost 4% had seen someone pretend to impersonate them online and 2% had seen sexual content that made them feel uncomfortable.
A huge majority (90%) of the children’s parents either did not know what parental filters were or they were not using them, and the children of those who were using them were still at risk of viewing the wrong sort of content.
BlockSite is a powerful extension for your browser (Chrome, Firefox) and app (Google Play) that helps you block specific sites and apps that you may find inappropriate, distracting, harmful or time-wasting.
The concept is simple: build a list of specific sites and installed apps you want to block, and schedule certain times when you need to stay focused. You can also sync between desktop and mobile to enhance safety and help protect your children from inappropriate content while using smartphones and tablet devices.
How do I protect my child on the Internet?
Setting strict rules for children regarding their Internet consumption will help protect them from consuming inappropriate content online. Installing extensions and apps such as BlockSite, and reminding your children that they should never give out their name, age or address online is a great start to addressing these issues.
However, in the age of social media, even these precautions may not be enough. Initially, you may want to sit next to your children to watch their browsing habits and teach them how to keep their browsing habits private.
Additionally, take advantage of your browser’s parental controls. The majority of internet browsers have an options folder where you can easily set up security safegaurds and content filters for language, nudity, sex and violence. Or, you can just use BlockSite, and set the option designed to block all adult sites in a single click, or add any other websites to your block list, to prevent your children from accessing them.
How do I Block Inappropriate Sites on Android?
Studies have recently confirmed that there is a positive correlation between children’s exposure to pornography and aggressive behavior. Websites don’t enforce strict enough rules to block porn for children, meaning that parents need to take action to protect their children from accessing this content.
Whilst we understand that in this day and age it is difficult to stop a child from using a smartphone, you can take certain measures to block porn or any kind of adult content on their Android smartphones and/or tablets.
The BlockSite mobile app allows you to block apps and websites. You can also sync between mobile and desktop, to enhance and promote your kids’ safety everywhere online.
In order to pair your phone with the extension, open the menu, then Settings, then “Sync BlockSite.” You will then be asked to go to the BlockSite desktop extension and scan the QR code. If you don’t have the extension, you’ll need to download it from Google Chrome or Firefox.
Inappropriate Content on Social Media
The World Wide Web has provided a new way to share content with wider audiences. We’ve been gifted with Facebook™, Instagram™ and Twitter™,to name but a few, to share content and connect with people from all over the world. However, while for the majority of the time this content is full of things we choose to consume, it can often also be inappropriate, offensive or unsuitable for some audiences and age groups.
Such content might include:
- Extremist behavior
While some people may deliberately search for inappropriate content, most of us would choose to avoid it but might inadvertently access or view it by typing in an incorrect web address or clicking on the wrong advertisement.
Therefore, for both adults and children, it is important to develop digital literacy skills so that we can assess the value and accuracy of the content we consume. It’s also important for children to know what they can do if they see something that offends them.
Social media has become a huge part of young adults’ social and creative lives and it provides them with many benefits – but also some risks. Talking about social media use with your children is the best way to help them avoid risks and stay safe online. You could also provide them with guidelines regarding how to use social media responsibly, respectfully and safely.
Banning or blocking social media completely, often doesn’t work; however, you could limit the time your children spend on it using BlockSite. BlockSite’s ‘Work Mode’ feature allows you to block websites and apps for a specific time frame. You can control what you block and when you have access to it. You can read more about it here.
Overall, the Internet is a great place for children to find entertainment, grow and learn.However, we must ensure that they have specific boundaries, and don’t accidentally consume content that may be harmful to them. Parents need to stay digitally aware and at all times make sure they have full control over their children’s Internet consumption, to protect them from unwanted situations that may have a bad impact on these young audiences.