#InnocentSearches – keeping our kids safe online

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I was chatting with my middle two kiddos the other day, about how I didn’t have the internet until I was 16 at home, and didn’t have a mobile until I was 18 {and then it was a brick – nothing like the smartphones that they have!}. They couldn’t grasp the idea of a world with no internet – and asked me what I did! Ha! It’s hard to imagine a world without the internet now, and while there are times I switch it off completely and need to retreat back into real life for a while, it is vital to my life – both for working and for homeschooling.

My biggest two have their own laptops, as well as smartphones, and Baya has a Kindle and an old phone of mine that she just uses at home on wifi for Whats App and games. We don’t have any particular screen time restrictions, although we have a no screens at the table rule, as well as during family movie/TV nights – I like them away so we can spend time together without any distractions.

I’ve always made sure to chat with the kids as they grow up about keeping safe on the internet – now my teen is on Facebook and chatting away to friends she’s made online, we’ve just had another chat about not giving out personal info, and being careful about who she is talking to. If you’re looking for some advice on how to talk about this with your kids, this article by the NSPCC has some great ideas. Unfortunately, chatting isn’t always enough – and that’s why I think that parental controls are vital too.

It’s all too easy for your child to stumble across inappropriate material – innocent searches can lead to not so innocent results. Getting some parental control advice can help you figure out how to block harmful or distressing content, and also limit the amount of time that they can spend online. The NSPCC and O2 are working together to make sure all children are kept safe online.

The start of the year is a great time to be thinking about this, as so many kiddos will have had new phones or tablets for Christmas – parental controls work a little like stabilisers for the internet! Giving you peace of mind that your child is safe online. For my littlest ones, I try to make sure they are in the room with me or my teen, so someone is keeping a watch over what they are doing. My teen likes to spend time in her room, talking and writing online- but I’ll check in on her now and then and chat about what she’s up to.

As a UK charity, the NSPCC gets almost 90% of our funding is from generous people like you, who care about the safety of children. If you’ve found this advice useful you can support the NSPCC with a donation: www.nspcc.org.uk/donate.

I was chatting with my middle two kiddos the other day, about how I didn’t have the internet until I was 16 at home, and didn’t have a mobile until I was 18 {and then it was a brick – nothing like the smartphones that they have!}. They couldn’t grasp the idea of a world with no internet – and asked me what I did! Ha! It’s hard to imagine a world without the internet now, and while there are times I switch it off completely and need to retreat back into real life for a while. It is vital to my life – both for working and for home-schooling.

My biggest two have their own laptops, as well as smartphones, Baya has a Kindle and an old phone of mine that she just uses at home on Wi-Fi for WhatsApp and games. We don’t have any particular screen time restrictions, although we have a no screens at the table rule, as well as during family movie/TV nights. I like them away so we can spend time together without any distractions.

I’ve always made sure to chat with the kids as they grow up about keeping safe on the internet – now my teen is on Facebook and chatting away to friends she’s made online, we’ve just had another chat about not giving out personal info, and being careful about who she is talking to. If you’re looking for some advice on how to talk about this with your kids, this article by the NSPCC has some great ideas. Unfortunately, chatting isn’t always enough – and that’s why I think that parental controls are vital too.

It’s all too easy for your child to stumble across inappropriate material – innocent searches can lead to not so innocent results. Getting some parental control advice can help you figure out how to block harmful or distressing content, and also limit the amount of time that they can spend online. NSPCC and O2 are working together to make sure all children are kept safe online.

The start of the year is a great time to be thinking about this, as so many kiddos will have had new phones or tablets for Christmas – parental controls are kind of like stabilisers for the internet! While you can never 100% rely on parental controls, they’re a great place to start. For my littlest ones, I try to make sure they are in the room with me or my teen, so someone is keeping a watch over what they are doing. My teen likes to spend time in her room, talking and writing online – but I’ll check in on her now and then and chat about what she’s up to.

If you’d like help in setting up parental controls then there are a number of ways that O2 and NSPCC can help:

  • Call their free Online Safety Helpline for step by step instructions – 0808 8005002
  • Book an appointment with an O2 Guru in store and take your devices to them
  • Look at their advice online: nspcc.org.uk/controls

As a UK charity, the NSPCC gets almost 90% of our funding is from generous people like you, who care about the safety of children. If you’ve found this advice useful you can support the NSPCC with a donation: www.nspcc.org.uk/donate.

Have you talked to your children about keeping safe online? Do you think parental controls are an essential to keeping your kiddos safe?

 

 

This is a collaborative post – all words and opinions are my own

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5 Comments

  1. February 7, 2017 / 19:26

    Such an important topic to discuss Polly – really interesting read. I’ve been thinking about this with G, even though she is only 6, and we have started having conversations about the internet and staying safe. We have Kidrex on the iPad which is a safe search engine, and she only has YouTube Kids and a kids’ Netflix area to use (caught her logging into my Netflix the other day though because she wanted to watch the US sitcom Fuller House?! Random!).

  2. February 7, 2017 / 19:31

    I don’t think kids get it at all do they? I didn’t get a phone until I was 16 and they’d only been out a year or so, now that phone costs £3!! Internet safety is something that really worries me, /7,£ a good conversation to have x

  3. February 7, 2017 / 21:29

    Really important topic to talk about. And you can never raise it too soon I reckon. Some really great advice here. x

  4. February 7, 2017 / 23:13

    We are bringing our kids up in such an exciting but at times quite scary world and I think it is really important to educate them on the importance of staying safe online. Like Alison we only have You Tube kids and things but I do get worried about what it will be like as my girls get older. x

  5. February 8, 2017 / 14:55

    Thank you for writing this, Polly. The online world is so exciting but it’s also such a dangerous place. It’s so important to teach children to be wise and be safe xx

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