5 tips to keep kids safe online

Is your family maxing out the wi-fi with devices in every room? Are there houseparties, Zooms, WhatsApps, Tik Tok challenges and Hangouts going on everywhere? If so, now is a really great time to take a step back, pause screen time and chat face to face about what everyone’s up to online.

1. Have a family chat.

Talk about what everyone’s interested in, the apps, sites and games everyone’s using and more. Be clear about the do’s and don’ts. If you’ve got younger kids, have a one to one before they get their first device or start using your mobile phone or the family laptop.

2. Do’s and Don’ts.

In our last tip, we talked about chatting with your kids so you know what everyone’s up to online. Here are some things you might want to cover. - Let your kids know to avoid anything that might upset them or be inappropriate for their age, like disturbing imagery or violence. - Tell them to be aware that people may not be who they say they are. - List out things they shouldn’t share, like passwords, their location, personal information and pictures. - If they’re using social media accounts do check the Privacy settings to ensure only the people you know and trust can see their activity. - You might also like to set some rules about what your kids can and can’t post online. Remember, the internet never forgets.

3. Make a plan.

Draw up a quick reference guide for everyone to check whenever they need. It’s a great idea to draw up a plan for how your family will use the internet – include those things to avoid from our earlier tips (link to tip 2) and make a family code of conduct. Put this on the wall in a common space or next to the family laptop.

4. Stay in touch.

Be virtual friends with your kids as well as around the dinner table. Follow them on social and show them you’re savvy with a few likes and a comment or two! Knowing their online interests helps you keep them safe and lets them know you’re a source of trusted advice if they have a problem during any of their interactions.

5. Be kind.

Teach your children respect and friendliness – and to check their emotions before they hit send! Many kids experience online bullying, so be sure to stress the importance of respecting your friend’s views and keeping your language friendly.