While our primary business is repairing phones we also care about making sure you and your family are as safe as possible online. As the number of smart phones, tablets and laptops increases, as does the amount of time we are spending online. There is all of this information and connection that we have access to, but just like in real life, there are bad people out there who use all of this for the wrong reasons. These bad people, in particular, like to target young people like our children. Follow these simple steps to help keep your kids safe online. As a dad myself, I think it’s important to keep my kids safe online.
My son, Charlie, who is an avid gamer and confident enough online to find ways round things, find fixes and solutions and backdoors to software and games, once found himself scammed out of his online Minecraft account. He had been chatting online with another gamer and offered him some tips and tricks to help him get other levels unlocked (or something like that! I’m not a gamer). The other gamer, who Charlie believed was a legitimate 14 year old American boy he’s been chatting to for months, said he needed access to Charlie’s account so Charlie gave him his username and login details. Then oddly, but not surprising, the boys chat account went offline and Charlie couldn’t get hold of him and he couldn’t get into his account as the password had been changed by the other person online. After a lot of time and effort with Minecraft’s owner and the email provider, neither were able to help and we had to give up. Charlie learnt a valuable lesson about people online and safety. He lost his account which he had spent over two years working on.
There are a few things you can do to keep your kids as safe as possible on YouTube. If you would like to make the normal YouTube app to be more friendly, the simplest thing for you to do is to click on settings and make sure restricted mode is turned on. This is better for kids that are slightly older. We would recommend downloading the stand-alone YouTube Kids app for younger children as this guarantees that your child won’t see anything they shouldn’t.
Mobile (Please note, this information is relevant for ios12)
When setting up a new mobile for your child, it is very important to make sure all the restrictions you would like to put in place are done correctly before giving the phone/iPad to them.
- Click on Settings > Screen Time > Content & Privacy Restrictions.
- Turn the Content & Privacy Restrictions toggle on (so it turns green).
- Now you can go into each category and change them to however you see fit.
- Click into the Content Restrictions section to change what kind of content appears in the iTunes & App store.
- Clicking on iTunes & App Store Purchases will allow you to change the settings so they can’t download anything without your permission. This includes in-app purchases.
- Click on Web Content to change what kind of content they can view on the web eg Limit Adult Websites or you can even allow only specific websites only.
If you’re letting them use your phone to keep them quiet (we all do it sometimes) you can turn these on and off easily.
Safari on Computers
Now that we’ve got mobiles and tablets out of the way, we can now look at making sure Safari is safe to use on computers.
- Click on the Apple in the left top corner.
- System Preferences > Parental Controls > Click on the lock in the corner and enter password.
- Click on Apps to change App Restrictions.
- Click on Web to change Browser Restrictions e.g. Allow access to only specific websites & Limit access to adult websites.
- Click on Stores to restrict explicit content on the App & iTunes store.
Parents and children need to be careful what they publicly post on the internet in picture form as there are issues around names, addresses, house names, numbers and even street names being shown in photographs. This could be inadvertently having a noticeboard in the background with household bills showing your address, or paperwork on a table. You would be surprised how people find out where children live or whose houses may be empty after a Facebook post showing yourself on holiday.
We taught our kids to only use Facebook with people they actually know. A lot of 17 year olds have 1,600 Facebook friends (which seems almost impossible to know). I’m 52 and have 350 friends that I know. That seems realistic for my age. When I was 17 I possibly had 20 friends! Not 1,600.
I find using these tips really helps me to keep my kids safe online and will keep your kids safe online as well. If you have any questions or concerns, feel free to get in touch with us.