The internet is my job if you like. I’m a blogger and I publish on the internet, I use social media and I consider myself pretty internet savvy. That said I think if you are using the internet as much as I do, you have to be aware (unless you are a real techy) that you can’t possibly know it all. My son uses the internet with me in the same room as him and the YouTube videos that he watches are the background soundtrack to my evenings. Sometimes I know he’s on safe ground, for instance when I can hear Squid or Stampy’s voice on YouTube, I know that there won’t be swearing or inappropriate content. The thing is he doesn’t just stick to the known, safe YouTubers, he’s got an appetite for searching wider to find the sort of content he’s interested in. Some of it is fine of course, but there have been a number that I’ve insisted be turned off because of unsuitable language. As he gets older he is likely to be using the internet more and more and it will become more difficult to keep a good handle on what he’s doing.
One of the main problems for parents, I think, is that it never stands still. You could do all the research now and think you are on top of keeping your child safe, but next week, or next month there might be a new threat out there. Even something that seemed fine to begin with could change because of the dynamics of how things work online. Recently, H was very keen to play a certain game and he was in a ‘tribe’ with his classmates and they could chat to each other. The trouble is that someone let other unknown people join and then a boy mentioned the name of their school online in conversation, so these strangers could see it. Now there is every chance that those strangers were just other kids, but they might not be. As parents we took action and I spoke to the mother of the child who had first set up the tribe. She took ownership and quickly expelled the unknown people and locked down membership to only children known to her son. That was great, but within a week or two the craze for this game seemed to have passed and they were moving onto the next thing. How do you as a parent keep up?
I think parents need to find help that will enable them to keep up with threats without having to do loads of research all the time and without having to vet every single thing before it’s accessed. One way of doing this is using something like Kaspersky Safe Kids. Kaspersky is probably a familiar name – we use them for our internet security software. The idea behind it is that it will help keep your kids safe online, whether they are using a traditional PC or laptop for their homework, watching YouTube on their tablet or talking with friends via text or social media on their phone. As well as monitoring the sites your child is visiting, you can set usage times and a message will come up on-screen to tell them that their screen time is up. You’ll be able to keep an eye on texts and calls, plus monitor Facebook activity. Another feature is the ability to set a safe area for your child and to be notified if they stray from it. You can decide which features you want to use and it’s easy to set up.
This post is in collaboration with Kaspersky Safe Kids.