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Updated 09 March 2015

5 easy steps to keeping kids safe online

Keeping children safe while allowing them to learn how to successfully navigate the Worldwide Web is a real challenge - an expert gives parents some vital tips.

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Cyberworld is a reality.  Even for those of us who don't spend hours on social networks, there is usually a computer at home, and it's no surprise to find that modern children are often more computer-savvy than their parents.

Whether kids use computers to browse for school projects, entertainment, gaming or chatting to their friends, here are five vital tips that even the least techno-able parent can follow to keep their children safe.  And you need to do this – the only walls in Cyberworld are the ones that you put in place.

  1. Set your default search engine as www.google.co.za and click “Search Preferences” on the right side of the search bar.  Select “Use strict filtering” under the SafeSearch heading and click on “Save Preferences”.  This will filter out any adult content which may, under normal circumstances accidentally appear when a child searches for something
  2. Discuss and demonstrate the difference between advertising and educational/entertaining content, and make sure your child can recognise it.  Following an advertising link can sometimes lead to undesirable websites
  3. If your children wish to join ‘chatrooms’, find a kid-friendly one and accompany them on their first few sessions.  Make sure they never give out any personal information or have a one-on-one chat with anyone they don’t know.  The more you find out and understand as a parent, the more equipped you are to educate and respond appropriately
  4. Check the Internet browsing history often.  If you find undesirable pages have been visited, discuss them with your child in an open and communicative way so they don’t feel guilty, yet understand that you are able to see what they’ve viewed.  Make sure they know how to click the “Back” button if they ever see content which makes them uncomfortable.
  5. Install a product such as McAfee Family Protection, and set up all of the features to match your child’s age and the restrictions you think are appropriate

Read more:

Cyberbullies: is your child safe?

5 tips on child safety

Cellphone porn and your teen

 
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