We caught up with Dean Williams, Systems Engineer, from Norton™ and asked for his advice to keep kids safer online. Cyber Safety is a life skill, which should be taught positively from a young age to help our children navigate their online journey safely.
Here are Dean’s top tips.
Schedule screen time limits and devices
Stay on top of how much time your children spend on their devices. Foster healthier habits by scheduling specific times of the day or week each device can be used and how many hours a day can be spent on each device.
Monitor what your kids are doing online
You might decide to let your kids get their own email address, set up social media accounts, and use the internet unsupervised. If so, it's a good idea to check in on what they're doing. Get familiar with the websites your kids visit, the social media they use, and the apps they download. Read reviews. Check out the site's terms and conditions to see what kind of information the platform tracks and stores. kids could unintentionally reveal too much if they don't understand how information is shared.
Set rules about using social media
Social media can be challenging for teens. On the one hand, it can help strengthen relationships. On the other, it can also distract them from in-person communication, potentially cause low self-esteem, and expose them to cyberbullying. Talk with your kids about smart social media habits and the best ways to use their devices. You can help them resolve issues, set social media limits, and use privacy features and content filters.
Stay informed about your children’s location
Stay informed about where your children are with tools that map the location of their Android and iOS devices and provide a 30-day history to show where they’ve been. Plus, help them be safer out and about with an Alert me feature, you can set specific date and time to receive automatic alerts of the location of your child’s device.
Limit access to websites and content
Landing on an inappropriate website can be as easy as missing a keystroke or clicking on the wrong link. Depending on your child’s age and level of maturity, you might consider setting up restrictions on websites and the types of downloads you deem inappropriate. Continue teaching your kids how to evaluate trustworthy websites.
“A.C.T.” rule: Ask, Chat, and take Action
All of this sounds like a lot to manage but don’t worry, follow our simple “A.C.T.” rule: Ask, Chat, and take Action
Ask: Approach your children and ask them about how they use their devices. Like cyber threats, each child is unique and depending on their interests, can be exposed to different risks while online. To help protect them, get involved and invested in their online activities and ask them what they like to do and who they engage with online.
Chat: It’s important to open a dialogue with your child about safe practices online. By starting these conversations early, parents can help their kids get into a better rhythm of sharing their online experiences openly and address certain challenges they might be experiencing online.
Take Action: Whether by implementing house rules or putting safeguards in place such as installing cybersecurity software to connected devices at home, parents should establish a safe environment for their children to engage online. Comprehensive Cyber Safety plans include a range of features to help people with their data and device safety.
For more information, check out our digital parenting support page.