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Toddlers and technology: 4 ways to ensure your child is safe when using the internet

schedule 6th January 2017 by Alex Bateman in Safeguarding

4 ways to ensure children are safe online

As our society becomes more immersed in technology, children and toddlers are growing up tech-savvy with access to the internet. But how can we protect them from harmful information?

In today?s society, we are immersed in technology. We can?t escape it. Digital technology is everywhere and has become an integral part of our everyday lives. As adults, we use it to help us in the workplace so that we can become better, faster and more efficient. Socially, all ages (although predominantly younger generations) use the internet to connect with friends and family all over the world via social media.

For children and toddlers, the internet provides a virtual playground for them to learn, connect, play and create. For the first time ever, children are being brought up around technology and are becoming more digitally advanced than their parents and grandparents. However, the internet is huge, and growing at a speed we would have never previously imagined. Every second, we are creating more information and content that is easily accessible to any user.

But how can you ensure that our children and toddlers are protected from accessing harmful or indecent content? Here we take a look.

1. Set-up parental controls

One of the first steps to ensuring your child is safe online is to set up parental controls so that upsetting or harmful content is blocked from view. Parents will be able to easilyy control in-app purchases and manage how long their child spends online.

It?s important to remember that the words and terms your child or toddler may search will often be done innocently. However, even the most innocent searchers can render explicit results. Parental controls are one of the best ways to prevent this by allowing you to plan the time of day your young one goes online and how long for, stop them from downloading inappropriate apps, and manage the content different members of the family can see.

2. Talk to your child about staying safe online

Another way to keep your child protected when using the internet,internet is to speak to them regularly and openly about the dangers of using the internet. Some families will find it helpful to have an open discussion about this and agree on what is appropriate. Alternatively, if parental controls have flagged something that may be of concern, you may need a more specific conversation about the particular website or app that your child wants access to.

It?s important that this is a two-way conversation and parents should ask their children what is and isn?t appropriate so that they have insight into their thought-process.

3. Encourage them to ask questions

Instead of feeling as though the internet is the only way to find the answer to any questions, children should feel as though they can approach their parents to gain a better understanding. Parents can encourage this by sitting down with their children regularly and asking them if they have any questions, or telling them to come to them if they are unsure of a word or term.

In addition to this, parents can ask children if there is anything they have seen online that has made them feel uncomfortable or confused. You can also teach your child how to report or block information on the sites and apps they use, encouraging them to do so if they see anything upsetting.

4. Discuss sharing personal information

Sharing personal information on the internet could be harmful as location and birth dates could help strangers identify where your child is at a specific time. This is why it is crucial for parents to talk to their children about personal information such as their email address, their full names, phone number, address and school name.

Use of images should also be discussed so that your child understands that some photographs could give people the wrong impression. If a website or someone online requests information from your child, you should encourage them to speak to you first.

Alex Bateman - Virtual College

Author: Alex Bateman

Alex is interested in the strategic application of learning and development. In particular how organisations can promote engagement with ongoing learning campaigns. He spends his spare time renovating his Victorian house. Ask him about his floors, I dare you.

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