Online learning has become one of the main modes of schooling in 2020 and 2021. And given that your kids are accessing the internet almost through the day, it is imperative that you up their security online.
Google’s Lucian Teo, Online Safety Education Lead, explained in a blog that their company conducted a recent research together with the Trust Research team in Asia-Pacific (Australia, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Japan, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Taiwan, Thailand and Vietnam) and Latin America (Argentina, Brazil, Colombia and Mexico) and they found that parents with children attending school online were more concerned about online safety than ones whose children attended school in-person.
Trying to instill safe habits, particularly online, can be challenging. But here are some simple stuff that you can do.
1. Protect their digital identities
- Teach kids how to choose strong passwords that cannot be easily guessed. Avoid simple passwords that use names, birthdates, or even favourite cartoon characters. And while you are at it, don’t forget to check your own passwords!
- Stick to platforms that have a strong reputation for user safety and are reliable. If you have not heard of a platform or a service your kids are accessing, read up about it first before you let them use it.
2. Know who they talk to
- Try to talk to your kids about the games they play or the videos they watch, and also the people they play with online. Ask them to speak to you the very moment they face any situation or person online that makes them feel uncomfortable.
- When assessing if a game is suitable for your child, it is important to check not only the content of the game, but also whether the app allows online communications. Some multiplayer games allow only a few options for social interaction, like a thumbs up rather than a text chat. This reduces risks of unwanted social interactions.
3. Offer appropriate content at the appropriate age
- Turn on SafeSearch or the likes on your browser. This helps filter out explicit content in search results.
- Manage your child’s device by creating an user account for them using the Family Link (like on Google). This will allow you to add filters on search results, block websites and give access only to the ones you allow, and track location of your child if they have their own device.
- Sites like YouTube also come with parental controls as do many other content streaming platforms like Netflix etc. You can use these to limit screen time and also pick suitable content for your kids.