Five tips to keep your children safe online

Worried by the amount of time your child spends on technology? Wonder who they’re talking to online? Read five tips to help you keep your children safe online.

How safe is your child right now? While you may feel reassured that they’re safe in your care in your home, if they have access to a device they may not be as danger-free as you think.

Because, as technology gets ever more sophisticated, and children have increasing access to their own devices, it’s hard to monitor all your child’s activity online – and protect them from people who may cause them harm.

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We don’t know what our children are doing online

Indeed, a recent survey by Blinds-Hut shows that parents often don’t know the full story when it comes to their children and technology. Here are some of the key findings:

  • The survey found that as many as 44% of children are looking at digital screens before sleeping. And on average, parents believe that their children go to bed 20 minutes earlier than they actually do.
  • Over half the parents surveyed thought their child was on the internet too much, and as a result of this feel disconnected from them. (The internet is especially prominent in the lives of children between the ages of 11 and 16.)
  • The results also showed that while 69% of parents think they know what their child is doing online, 1 in 5 children admitted to lying about their activity. And 24% of children (mostly young girls) admitted to lying about their age online.
  • 25% of children feel pressured to stay up late so they don’t miss out on conversations happening online, and 1 in 10 children stay awake worrying about their appearance because of what they have seen online on sites such as Instagram.
  • This effects young girls more, as they are twice as likely to stay awake worrying about online bullying than boys, and feel additional pressure to look good.
  • 17% of parents also say their child has received nasty/inappropriate comments on an image, profile or video. But again, the survey indicates this number is higher, with 1 in 5 children saying they have received these types of comments.

Five tips to keep your children safe online

So how can you make sure your child is safe online? What lengths do you need to go to to ensure ether aren’t being bullied or using technology when they shouldn’t?

Here are five tips to help you.

  1. Stick to a routine – an hour before bedtime ask your children to put their phones down and begin to relax without technology.
  2. Have a nightly technology detox – if your child sleeps without an electrical device in their room it will be less tempting to be online.
  3. Ask friends and family for help – ask someone you know to keep an eye on them online, someone who is younger and knows how to use social media platforms just as well as they do.
  4. Have regular conversations – sit down with your child every now and then and have a catch up about their friends and followers and what they are up to with them.
  5. Encourage positive use – don’t put too much pressure on your child to give up the internet, or their devices. They are a great way for us to stay connected and the online world is growing constantly. If well managed, using technology can be an advantage.
  6. Learn the lingo – PAL, an acronym for “parents are listening” is commonly used by children when parents walk in the room. The Express have a handy list of examples for parents who want to understand their child’s online life a little more.