Can you say for sure that you know exactly what your children are viewing online and that their online privacy is protected? The chances are they know more about how to navigate the Internet than you and may even be browsing privately or deleting their history, cookies and caches.
Along the way the inevitable will happen and they will come across a site or an image that piques their curiosity and might be deemed as inappropriate by you but they just have a quick peek and so it begins.
Of course some sites that contain inappropriate content can also contain viruses, adware, spyware, worms, Trojans and more. You try to protect your family from the outside world so why wouldn’t you afford them the same protection on the Internet?
From baby to browsing
Children’s interaction with the Internet starts much earlier than it did when we were children. Start as you mean to go on and introduce them to the good stuff, the ‘must do stuff’ (my daughter reads her schoolbooks online) and the pitfalls along the way. A bit like telling your kids not to speak to strangers, the same applies on the internet. It goes without saying that the priorities and Internet risks to their and your privacy changes as they get older.
Chat offline about online privacy
Your family unit is made up of different ages and different levels of Internet ability. Some members may need more guidance than others but they all need to chat about their experience online, both good and bad. It is prudent to lay down the ground rules from day one and adapt them to take into account the latest social trend or security breach. Parents and children may unknowingly divulge personal details and there is no magic formula that may prevent this. But, the one action that we can all take is to communicate openly and honestly about the pitfalls of the Internet. So that when your child is exposed to inappropriate content they tell you, or when your Mum wants to post her holiday photos online for her friend in Australia to see, they know how to do it safely and responsibly.
What’s done is done
Make them aware that once they’ve posted an update on Facebook, uploaded photos to Snapchat or even started their own blog, that information is floated around Internet space forever and may land back in their Inbox one day. Recruitment companies are increasingly using social media websites as part of the recruitment process. The right to be forgotten only applies Europe and even though Google have removed 68.8% of UK URLs that have been requested to be removed that leaves your family exposed to the rest of the ‘worldwide web’ and its inappropriate content.
Remember to wear your ‘Internet’ safety goggles
Control what information is being viewed by family members and make sure privacy settings are set accordingly. You can never be sure that they aren’t being exposed to inappropriate content but you can help to mitigate the exposure with some simple rules as set out below:
- Start chatting about the pitfalls from the day they start using the Internet
- Have regular offline chats as their knowledge of the Internet increases
- Teach them what to look out for so they recognise when something isn’t quite right
- Help them to create strong passwords that are fun and easy to remember
- Check the privacy settings on sites so that you can be sure you are in control as to who sees what
- Lock down profiles
- Regularly scan for malware
- Explain online ‘stranger danger:’ cyber bullying , trolling, phishing scams etc
- Remind them that once posted, uploaded or pinned, that information will hide somewhere and may come back to haunt them later
- If you don’t want your parents to see it, don’t do it
- Download the apps they download so you are familiar with their content
Want to know more about keeping your family’s privacy protected?
Talk to our privacy experts on 0800 131 0700