Recent research from uSwitch.com shows that over a quarter (27%) of British children under eight now own tablets, with around four million children mastering touchscreen devices aged three and under. As a result of this increase it’s been revealed that kids are spending their parent’s money on apps leading companies such as Apple having to give nearly £20 million in refunds to disgruntled mums and dads.
To help parents safeguard both their children and their bank balances, non-profit awareness organisation, Get Safe Online, has pulled together some tips as part of its ongoing ‘Switched On campaign’, which I thought may be useful for your site.
· Stay private – ensure your child understands the risks of sharing personal information online, such as their full name, location, images and video content and that they should only share these with people they know and trust in the offline world
· Opt for parental settings – use the parental control settings on your browser, search engine and internet security package and block pop-ups and spam emails. You should also consider setting up a family e-mail account which can be used specifically to register for websites, competitions etc.
· Protect your money – ensure your child cannot gain access to an online shop or other website where your card details are stored. If your child is paying for something with your permission, make sure they check to make sure the padlock symbol is displayed in the browser frame and the web address begins with ‘https://’. The ‘s’ stands for ‘secure’
· Choose strong passwords – make sure you have activated password protection on your child’s mobile phone or tablet and include random letters and numbers to keep them strong
· Keep security up to date – By installing and keeping an internet security product up to date you can protect against identity theft, scams and other threats. Cybercriminals can access social media profiles or extract other personal data from unsecured machines: good internet security software should remove these risks immediately
· Be safe and social – make sure you keep your child’s profile private and use the highest security settings so you can control who sees what and that they report anything untoward to yourself or another adult
· Talk about it – encourage conversation about what they are interested in, so you can make the internet a shared, family experience
· Don’t worry – the internet is a fantastic tool and with the right guidelines in place there is no reason why it can’t be used to its full advantage. If you are worried about anything at all go to www.GetSafeOnline.org for further advice
Tony Neate, Chief Executive of Get Safe Online comments: “The fact over a quarter of kids under eight own tablets is no longer a great surprise. Children of today are part of a digital generation, meaning they not only know any different than to use technology and the internet, but in many cases are even savvier than their parents. However, whilst it may be second nature it’s important that they understand the risks and the boundaries they should observe – especially given recent news that parents are suffering financially as a result of this. Like learning to ride a bike, or crossing the road, the most effective way to educate children is to start early and empower them to take responsibility for their own safety.”
The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) is dedicated to tackling the sexual abuse and exploitation of children and young people. CEOP is here to help young people (up to age 18) who have been forced or tricked into taking part in sexual activity with anyone online or in the real world. For information, advice and to report concerns directly to CEOP, visit the Safety Centre www.ceop.police.uk/safety-centre.