As any grandparent will know, being left in charge of the kids is a joy and a privilege, but it also comes with huge responsibility. While you probably know how to look after children in the home and while out and about, cyberspace could be uncharted territory.
Do you know who they’re talking to online? Which websites they’re visiting? What games they’re playing? And whether they’re viewing inappropriate content?
According to research, four in 10 grandparents will be left in charge of the kids at some point during the summer holidays. Internet Matters, a not-for-profit organisation dedicated to e-safety, has put together a grandparents’ guide to keeping the little ones safe online.
Tip 1: Know the rules and stick to them
It’s important to understand what rules the parents have put in place for the kids regarding their use of technology, and to stick to them. That way, the kids won’t be confused or tempted to try to get away with something they know their parents wouldn’t allow.
Tip 2: Gen up on your technology
Get to know which devices your grandchildren use. Whether it’s a smartphone, tablet, laptop or desktop computer, find out how they work so if something goes wrong you’ll know what to do.
Tip 3: Understand if the tech they’re using is age-appropriate
Which games are they playing? What apps are they using? And which websites are they spending most time on? Ask them, and make sure you check what they’re doing is age-appropriate.
Tip 4: Check parental controls
Parental controls can be activated through the home broadband (here's how to activate BT's parental controls, which are free for all BT broadband customers). Make sure these are activated to prevent young eyes from seeing inappropriate content.
Tip 5: Be prepared if something goes wrong
Have an action plan in place if something upsets them online. Offer a listen ear so they can come to you with concerns, and together work out the best way to support them, whether it’s by offering reassurance, setting controls or reporting the incident.
For a comprehensive and easy-to-use resource of the most up-to-date information for keeping your child safe online, check out Internet Matters.