3 Tips To Safeguard Kids Online

July 14, 2023 | Blog
3 Tips To Safeguard Kids Online

From smartphones to tablets to gaming consoles and traditional computers, kids are online quite a bit. Statistics cited by the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry indicate that kids spend an average of 4 to 9 hours watching or using screens, which includes social media usage.

Not only do the sedentary habits associated with screen usage and social media engagement come with potential drawbacks related to long-term physical health, but behavioral health experts have begun to sound the alarm to the mental health detriments of prolonged screen time and social media exposure especially among its youngest users. 

As a parent, how do you keep your kids safe online? As legislators continue to debate what could or should be regulated, kids are — every day — venturing out to a digital world where essentially everything is available. 

Even in the absence of industry regulation and formal standards across the board, parents have a few tools at their disposal to safeguard the digital experience their kids are having, now. 

Parental controls. Both Apple and Google have parental controls installed on or available for their phones, allowing parents to monitor behavior and usage, restrict access and time, and manage online purchases. The parental controls also place restrictions on downloads and screen time through various apps, from calls to texts to FaceTime. One of the most impactful settings is an ability for a parent to set a screen time limit for each day. 

Safe browsing. Concerns about safe browsing are legitimate, considering the volume of violent and potentially sexually explicit material available on the internet. The good news is, Google and Firefox have tools available to help ensure safe browsing. A Firefox browser will require parents to choose “safe mode” from its options while a Google browser requires parents to enable “SafeSearch” in its privacy settings. Parents using Internet Explorer need to activate “Content Advisor” and then select which sites to block. Kid-friendly browsers, like Yahoo Kids, are also a safe browsing option. 

Content filtering. Managing what type of content appears on certain channels and platforms is another way of making sure kids are protected from offensive, disturbing or inappropriate content online. An overwhelming majority of kids are accessing YouTube, which offers a running feed of video suggestions and can easily lead users down a path they did not intend to take. Fortunately, YouTube has a “restricted mode” option that filters out adult content. On Instagram, for both Android and iPhones, parents are able to limit the exposure of sensitive content by indicating that preference in “suggested content.”

The online environment can be enriching for kids but it can also expose them to content that is not appropriate for their age. Some applications are easier to navigate than others, and some are better at blocking undesirable content. But, understanding the tools at your disposal, as a parent, is half the battle when it comes to protecting kids online. 

Contact us to learn more about how our computer experts can offer you ongoing support for any issues you’re experiencing!


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