As a family who travel frequently, our electronic devices have come to the rescue on many an occasion. Calming a restless toddler on a turbulent flight, entertaining them during long car journeys and enticing them away from the swimming pool for some quiet time. They have become part of our travel essentials. But as my daughter gets older I’m becoming more aware that we’ll have to keep a better eye on the security of the devices she uses and what she’s accessing online. An incident his summer highlighted this need.
Using devices on holiday
Until recently I’d given my daughter the iPad to use without a second thought. She knows which apps are hers and the only films and TV programmes downloaded are suitable for her. But on a recent break to Mallorca, I caught her looking on YouTube at various videos.
She was only watching Disney trailers and hadn’t clicked on anything unsuitable. But it made me realise she’s getting to an age when she could stumble upon something she shouldn’t. Before I know it, she’ll be surfing the internet and then on social media. Eek! I can’t say I’m looking forward to that day. What I do know is that I need to get clued up on protecting my daughters and the devices they use.
The internet’s dark-side
The internet is such a great learning ground. My daughter has a range of apps she uses on our devices. Some involve problem solving, spelling and maths while others are more creative. Being able to discover virtually anything you want at the touch of a button is, in my opinion, rather magical. It certainly beats combing through dusty library books for answers. While being able to connect instantaneously with family and friends across the globe is mind-boggling. But the internet also has a dark-side.
At five years old my daughter doesn’t understand much about the internet – or its dangers – but is tech savvy enough to access it. After the YouTube incident, I did some research and turned on some of the restrictions in my iPad settings. They prevent her from seeing any explicit or upsetting content. The same goes for my phone which my one-year-old daughter seems to enjoy playing with at the moment.
What security controls can be put in place?
Long term though we’ll need to install extra security on our devices. As a family who travel a lot, it needs to protect us – and all our devices – when we are overseas. Using a security software system such as Kaspersky Security Cloud is a way to safeguard our privacy wherever we are. It protects against the usual malware and virus issues (we’ve all been there!), but also allows you to connect to a public or hotel WiFi safely (alerting you if the connection isn’t secure).
For families, it allows them to set up accounts for each family member and parental control filters can be customised for different children. For instance, it can control the amount of time your children spend on the device or online. You can also set it so you can be alerted when they click on a questionable website. You can adapt and choose how you want it to fit with your family.
What else can parents do?
As well as putting a security system like Kaspersky Security Cloud in place, it’s important to be open with your children and talk through the potential dangers of the online world. The government has some practical guidance. It includes knowing how to block offensive users and talking about how your child would react in certain situations. Discussing topics such as cyberbullying and how to deal with the bullies as well as setting out ground rules on what they can – and can’t do – online are also recommended.
Tablets and other devices have an educational role in our lives and are here to stay. I intend to do my best to stay on top of the changing technology and associated dangers as best I can. It is reassuring to know there are security tools, like those offered by Kaspersky, which can help to keep our family safe online.
One of the tips I particularly liked from the Children’s Commissioner is to encourage your child to be positive to others online. It has come up with a five-point digital “5 a day” which is handy to consider especially during the holidays. They are: connect, be active, get creative, give to others and be mindful.
While some of the more serious internet issues are still a way off for our family, keeping informed and staying secure is so important. Another piece of advice which stood out for me during my research is to be mindful of how much time they are spending on their devices. It comes as my daughter told me off in the car today for “looking” at my phone. I guess we all need to stay mindful of that one!
What are your thoughts on parental controls? Do you worry about your child using the internet? What advice do you have?