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The internet has become an essential tool for communication, information, entertainment and education. It’s a resource now being used in schools and homes across the globe. The benefits of the internet are indisputable, but with the increased ease of access to the internet comes the difficulty of establishing guidelines and limits as to what your children have access to and what they should or shouldn’t do online.
Whether we like it or not, our children are digital. Tablets and mobile devices are in our classrooms and are becoming more and more prevalent in the learning environment. With this ease of access to the internet comes potential threats that may be harmful to an uninformed child. Without guidance from parents or authorities, children can fall victim to harmful content scams or child predators. A child having unmonitored access to the internet can potentially open the door to physical and psychological threats, threats that can be prevented when the right safety precautions are put in place.
We’re not saying you should keep your children from experiencing the online world, we’d rather focus on keeping them safe online. We’ve outlined some basic safety precautions every parent should implement in their home:
- Set the time and place your child is allowed online, preferably when a parent or adult is home.
- Talk to your kids openly about the dangers and benefits of using the internet.
- Get involved and ask questions about which sites they enjoy the most and which ones they visit most regularly.
- Help your kids to set up social media accounts, show them where the privacy settings are and tell them what they are for and why they should use them.
Beyond these precautions, there are certain programmes that can be installed to protect your children online:
- VirtueNet is a locally produced e-Safety organization that aims to equip parents and schools with the necessary tools to effectively protect children online whether it be at home or at school. VirtueNet provides exclusive cyberbullying prevention technology for schools with other child safety innovations for mobile and home environments such as web filtering.
- Mobiflock is another safety technology that offers a range of child protection services for smartphones and tablets. These include application blocking and the monitoring of online content. Mobiflock software enables safety functions that can protect your children from access to harmful content as well as lurking predators, bullies and the like.
- Norton provides a range of products and services for various devices ranging from Macs to PC’s to tablets and mobile phones. Norton aims to keep your children and family safe by monitoring your kids’ online activities and blocking inappropriate and infected websites.