Thousands of children up and down the country will undoubtedly receive laptops, tablets and phones over the winter holiday, giving them access to the world wide web.
As your child becomes more confident online, it’s important to be aware of the risks they may face. Internet Matters, a not-for-profit e-safety organisation, has lots of user-friendly advice covering a huge range of issues.
Turn on Parental Controls
One of the simplest ways to protect young children is to activate parental controls on devices they use. Parental controls restrict access to adult content and certain features, and there are different types for home broadband, phones and tablets, as well as for video services like Netflix and YouTube.
1: Home broadband parental controls
BT knows how important online safety is to parents, so all broadband customers can protect children by activating Parental Controls. Choose between Light, Moderate and Strict filters and set times these apply. You can also block and allow specific websites.
Parental Controls apply to all devices that connect to your BT Hub.They also works away from home when devices connect to BT Wi-Fi hotspots using your BT ID. Activate BT Parental Controls.
2: Phone and tablet parental controls
Your son or daughter may be too young for a mobile phone, but may still use yours, so familiarise yourself with parental controls.
Apple iPhone: Apple lets you restrict access to phone features like the web browser, camera and FaceTime. Add age restrictions to iTunes content or prevent accessing to it altogether, stop them installing and deleting apps, and prevent in-app purchases. How to set up parental controls on an iPhone
Android: Parental Controls are based around the Google Play Store, allowing you to set age restrictions for apps and games, movies, books music and TV shows that can be downloaded. You can set up a password for any purchases from the Google Play Store, so your child won’t buy anything accidentally. Lots of phones run Android including Samsung, Sony and Nokia. To find out how to set individual controls for your phone, search the manufacturers website. How to set up parental controls on an Android phone
3: Video service parental controls
Netflix: Video-streaming service Netflix has a ‘Kids’ section, but you can create an individual profile restricting shows and films they can watch based on their age, choosing between: Little Kids, Older Kids, Teens and Adults. How to set up parental controls on Netflix
YouTube: YouTube Kids is an app created by Google especially for children. Big buttons and easy scrolling make it easier to use, with video split into four categories: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore. The app includes a timer parents can use to limit the amount of time children can use the app and search can be turned on or off. The app is free and available for Android and iOS devices.
Tips to keep your children safe online
Internet Matters advice for children of all ages.
1: Explore together: Talk to your child - find out what they do online; ask them to show you their favourite games and websites.
2: Talk to siblings: Encourage older children to think about what they share with younger siblings.
3: Search safely: Aimed at young children Swiggle or Kids Search are web browsers that filter out inappropriate content. Google Safe Search blocks inapproporiate and explicity images, activate it here.
4: Check age ratings: Apps, games, films and TV shows often come with age ratings - use these to determine whether something is suitable for your child. Use the Pegi website to check ratings.
5: Social networks: Social networks like Facebook and Twitter have a minimum age requirement of 13, so your child shouldn’t be using them.
6: Stay involved: Encourage your child to use laptops and tablets in places you can keep an eye on what they are doing, instead of leaving them alone in their bedroom.