Kids bamboozled you with VPNs and V-Bucks? Makes you feel a bit out of your parenting depth when it comes to keeping the kids safe online. Most surveys find somewhere between half and a third of parents give up and let their kids use the internet without any restrictions. So if you discover “Arianna boobies” in search history, there is still time to fix it before it gets worse.
Whether you are interested or not interested in technology, there's a lot you can do for not very much. Yes, you can, turn on parental settings and get online family protection moving in the house. We'd love to learn a little more about your household, please take a moment, to fill in our questionnaire, you might even win a Free 'parental control' App from us.
Here are a few terms to ease us into the treacherous world of cybersecurity.
When our kid's online safety is at stake. Where is the best place to start? At router level, software level or on their devices?
In the UK, Ireland the internet service providers (like Virgin Media, TalkTalk, BT, etc.) all offer some network-based tools. These are good basics and easy to turn on. They can be a bit simplistic though, but you can get more granular controls if you use router and endpoint security.
Endpoint security is the most effective, as it means you have peace of mind that it’s doing its job even when the kids are using wi-fi in a café or at a friend’s. These kinds of tools, like SAFE from us at BeSecureOnline are often easier to set up than parents realise. They have simple wizards which help get them set up and only take about two minutes. Then it is easy to control them from the easy to use F-Secure HOME (which is a web-based account).
What’s the best way to approach cybersecurity with kids? Is there a good online resource?
Internet safety starts with a conversation with your kids about how they use the web and social media; exactly like being careful in the real world with strangers. Strange danger
There is a fabulous resource in the UK called Internet Matters which features lots of guides for parents and children on how to stay safe.
What are the threats, where do they lurk and what signs should we, as parents, be looking out for?
Sadly, it’s all too easy for children to talk to unknown people on the web. Predators prey on children (and adults) for a variety of reasons. Whether it’s criminals who steal our data, to more dangerous child exploitation issues, we urge parents to be aware of who their kids are engaging with, what social media they use and to keep a dialogue going.
Is there good protection for the home and for when kids are out and about?
In this scenario, the best option is always to use endpoint protection as SAFE. But also, as stated before, to ensure your children have an understanding of the potential risks.
Is it possible to add ‘parental controls’ to apple products like the kids’ iPhones and iPads?
Yes, within the F-Secure SAFE there is an application for iPhones, iPads. It’s a separate web browser that replaces the standard Safari one and allows the parent to configure a profile based on the child’s age. It is easy to set up.
How can we make Youtube ‘safe and appropriate’ for different ages? Some of the best Yout – thus my 3-year-old, along with our 11, 12, 14 and 16-year-olds all watch it.
Consider this approach, block very young kids on YouTube except when you watch over them, Block access to YouTube on their devices and let them access it only when you're around. Again consider watching with them and request they don't hit links without showing it to me first.
Is there any way to pre-approve the subject matter of ads/links on Youtube when my kids are watching videos?
Not as far as we are aware, Google which own YouTube have not
If my kids are watching an age-appropriate video on Youtube, will the suggested/watch next options be the same?
You are more or less certain it's okay but with 1000s of video uplifted every day onto YouTube, they will miss something. They do great in general but mistakes will happen.
Can we restrict online gaming to just a group of (pre-approved) friends/people my child personally knows?
Hat tip to Fortnite, for example, has something called ‘custom matchmaking’. It allows you to create private games and invite-only named people and it requires no special skills to set up. It’s a good approach and we hope other games makers follow suit.
A private server allows you to manage on an invite-only basis who can join. A server in this context can just be any computer you have at home. For my kids, I created a Minecraft server so they could play only with their friends. Yes, this does require some technical knowledge. However, Games companies are aware of this issue especially with COVID19 upping the stakes for everyone.
Should we be covering up the camera lens on our kid's laptops, pads or phones?
Definitely on laptops – phones are harder as kids use the cameras incessantly. I found this almost impossible to manage and so trust that the SAFE application stops anything malicious from getting onto the device and stealing images.
Laptops. No issues there, cover them up. Phones are harder to manage and so trust that the SAFE application stops anything malicious from getting onto the device and stealing images.
On a smartphone, we need to be using parental control to thwart App that wants to photograph us on the sly.
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