Helping your children stay safe online

How safe is the internet for children? Research that we commissioned shows that 41% of parents with a child between the ages of 8 and 18 don’t use parental controls on devices like smartphones or tablets. Meanwhile, 39% of children aged 12 to 18 know at least some of their parent’s PIN numbers for their smartphones, or passwords for social media accounts.

This suggests that, depending on your child’s age, ability to ‘surf the net’ and parental controls, they could potentially have access to a wealth of age-inappropriate content as well as the opportunity to connect with strangers online. These could pose risks to their safety and personal data – as well as that of you or your family.

How to help your child stay safe on the Internet

There are some steps that you can take to help protect your children online. These include the following:

  • Educating your child on potential online dangers
    Speak to your child about the risks of using the internet, as well as how these risks may appear. You may want to cover topics such as how to keep passwords secure, sharing too much personal information on social media, or the dangers or socialising online.
  • Keeping your devices secure
    Ensure that all digital devices – including smartphones, tablets, laptops and computers – have the latest firewalls and anti-virus protection installed.
  • Setting parental controls
    You may want to turn on parental controls so that you can decide when and how your child can use a specific device. Make sure you choose strong passwords.
  • Not saving your payment details online
    Shopping websites can make it easy to make purchases, such as by saving your card details and letting you make payments with a single click. Try not to save these details online where children could accidentally make purchases and rack up large bills without your knowledge.
  • Monitoring your credit report
    Your child may accidentally share some of your personal information online, which could be collected by identity fraudsters. You may want to monitor your Equifax Credit Report & Score, which is free for the first 30 days then £14.95 monthly, to ensure that there isn’t any suspicious activity on your report.
  • Being ready to listen
    Let your child know that you’re always there to listen if they come across any activity or behaviour online that makes them feel uncomfortable

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