At the last count we had three laptops, five iPads, one MacBook, four iPhones, a kindle, an Xbox plus a few other smart phones lurking abandoned in drawers. I think that is a pretty average haul for a family of five with two of them being teenagers. Managing their internet use is really important and a vital part of today’s parenting. The internet has opened up so many opportunities from watching TV to securing Little Mix tickets like I did this morning! Remember the days of trying to get Smash Hit live tickets it was all on the phone, now we just sit in virtual queues via the internet!
However with great opportunities also comes some risks. As a popular blogger I have seen what search terms people have used to get to my blog. At times they must be disappointed as those search terms include:
- teenage girls bottom drawer
- will you be ill if you eat out of date cauliflower cheese. unopened
- feet teenager blogspot
- women in spica casts
I get a lot of people searching for things about feet – I imagine I come up highly in search terms, as I have blogged many times about my children’s flat feet and their hypermobility and health issues. However, I get the feeling from some of the search terms they are not looking for that kind of content!
This just demonstrates how the internet works and one misspelled word, one click too far in a sidebar and you could be looking at something you did not expect. I have blogged about this before, as Dyl managed to see content I thought he couldn’t when he typed in sexy ladies. He still denies this, but we found it in the search history and my husband assures me it was not him! From looking at the search history we could see exactly how things progressed. It started with searches for WWE, then moved to WWE Women Wrestlers, then just sexy ladies.
It was those innocent searches that went a bit off track. Nothing was done intentionally but just a few clicks and we are in a whole different place of the internet. Did you know that research from the NSPCC found that children were as likely to find pornography accidentally, as to deliberately search for it.
On another occasion, Dylan managed to spend over £65 on gems in the course of a few hours to play an online game with friends. They built a pretty good village apparently!
These ‘accidents’ made us take more notice of how our children are using the internet. Since then, we have a few rules about the internet, for example no phones / devices at the dinner table when we are all eating together.
We instantly added parental controls to devices, this included the childrens iPads. We took YouTube off the iPad Erin uses and replaced it with YouTube Kids. The same with Netflix, so I know that what she is watching is suitable. It is harder as they get older and unfortunately we, as parents, need to keep up to date with technology and how it is used.
With many children getting smart devices for Christmas, January is the time to consider just how safe the devices are. In order to further protect children the NSPCC has partnered with O2. Together, they support parents with the knowledge, skills and practical help needed to keep children safe online. And all of this is available for free, whether you’re an O2 customer or not.
How the NSPCC and O2 are working together:
They have made it easier to keep your child safe by offering a number of services.
- To get help with parental controls or advice on any online safety problem call their helpline 0808 800 5002, go to nspcc.org.uk/controls
- You can also visit an O2 Guru in O2 stores to get support, or you can book an appointment here.
- Talking with your children about keeping safe online: https://www.nspcc.org.uk/preventing-abuse/keeping-children-safe/online-safety/talking-your-child-staying-safe-online/
As a UK charity almost 90% of their funding is from generous people like you, who care about the safety of children. If you’ve found this advice useful you can support the NSPCC with a donation: nspcc.org.uk/donate
Make it your January resolution to check your search history regularly and set up those parental controls. It is our job to protect our children where we can and don’t think just because they are at home they are safe.
Call to action – How are you going to implement the changes? What are you currently doing to keep you kids safe online?
disclosure: collaborative post