When I was a child most people didn’t have computers in their homes, until I was in my teenage years anyway. As a primary school aged child we had access to BBC computers, which were very basic, as I hope most people my age remember. I still remember the first time I heard about the internet from my dad, who came into the kitchen for dinner to tell me that he had asked a question ‘on the world wide web’ and someone from America had answered it. In my head I imagined him typing a question into a BBC style computer and then a random answer pinging back on the screen below his question. I had no idea what the world was about to experience with the birth of the internet!
Nowadays (man, I feel old saying that!) children have access to the internet from an early age, whether it be on a laptop, desktop or tablet, there is a good chance that most kids in the UK will have been exposed to the internet before they are 2 years old.
Although we never let our (now) 3 year old use the internet on his own, his older brother often has his dad’s tablet to watch train videos on You Tube or use different apps. He can’t spell yet, so there’s no need to worry about what he’s writing, but he’s perfectly capable of clicking on different videos on You Tube or even accidentally clicking off the screen onto adverts etc. This is one of the reasons that parental controls are so important.
Why Use Parental Controls
Some parents are happy to just talk to their kids about how to use the internet safely, which of course is very important and this article by the NSPCC will give you some idea of what to talk about. However, it would be silly to assume that everything will be fine after just a talk, even if you fully trust your child. It is often innocent searches by children that lead to them clicking on an inappropriate link or video, which is exactly why parental controls are so useful.
As children get older, they will want to chat to others online and have a social media presence. It’s important to consider what parental controls can be put into place as well as talking to your child.
You may want to use parental controls to block harmful or upsetting content on the internet, or just to control the amount of time they spend on the internet. They can even be used to stop in app purchases, which is something that is very useful when you have young children who just click around on the screen!
How Do You Set Parental Controls
NSPCC and O2 are working together to ensure that all children can be kept safe whilst online and using their free internet safety advice can help. If you would like to phone someone to chat about keeping your children safe online then phone the O2 and NSPCC Online Safety Helpline for some friendly advice (phone number is in the article) or have a read of the NSPCC’s article on keeping kids safe online.
Even if you are not very ‘techy’, it is possible to set the parental controls on your devices with a little help from O2’s Gurus. You don’t even need to be an O2 customer to book an appointment to discuss how to set up parental controls and keep your children safe online. Book here.
Have you set up parental controls on your children’s devices?
* This is a collaborative post.