Keep your kids safe online

Mar 13, 2019.

We all know the internet can be a fantastic tool to help your kids learn and play—but it doesn’t come without risks. Here's how to keep your kids safe (and happy!) online.

We all know the internet can be a fantastic tool to help your kids learn and play (even if we do wish they'd come out of phone-land once in a while!)—but it doesn’t come without risks. Luckily, there is a huge amount of precautions you can take and control you can have to keep digital dangers out of the family home. So here's how to keep your kids safe (and happy!) online.

Tackle cyber-bullying 

Most of our children's social networking will only ever be a positive and fun experience, but things can occasionally turn nasty. Tell-tale signs of cyber-bullying include emotional outbursts after time spent online and withdrawal from activities they usually enjoy. If you suspect there is something going on, talk to your child about what may be happening and listen. Record all incidents and report individuals to the websites they use, as well as your child's school.

Identify "stranger danger"

Social media provides a wonderful opportunity for your children to connect with others. But do they understand the risks of communicating with strangers online? Tell your children to delete any "friend" or "follow" requests from strangers and never give out any personal information, such as their full name or age. And make sure your child understands that they should never meet in person with strangers from the internet.

This can’t be stressed enough, as there are so many horrible examples just in recent memory of kids being lured away by predators. According to a study, one out of ten Swiss kids has been harassed online. One great tool to use (and help the community in the worst case) is the kidnapping alarm set up by Swiss authorities.

Protecting privacy

Your kids are increasingly living in an online world—but they shouldn't be giving away TOO many details about themselves. Make sure their webcam is covered up. Hopefully, they will be clued-up on secure passwords ("password" is a no-no!) and routinely logging out of devices (or at least making sure they aren't lying around unattended). But you and your child should also understand how the privacy settings work on social networks and ensure they are at maximum levels.  

Maintain financial security

Scammers can pose a big threat to vulnerable internet users. Educate your children not to open any unknown messages or links, as these may contain "trojan horse" viruses that can steal personal data. And web-savvy kids should know not to give out any financial details or make any online transactions without seeking parental permission first. Also, keep your credit cards safe and out of reach. 

Setting boundaries

Finally, there's one way you can reduce your kids' online risks...encourage them to spend more time offline! Set boundaries for internet use at home (e.g. no phones at the dinner table) and banish all devices from your child's room after a certain time in the evening. At the very least, it will improve their sleeping habits!