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A Guide to Internet Safety: How to Keep Kids and Teens Safe Online

The internet is a useful tool that can be enjoyed for educational, social and entertainment purposes. While the internet’s resources are exceptional - it is also vital to remember that cyberspace can harbor potential security and privacy issues for your children.

As digital natives your children are vulnerable, and while the next crop is set to be the most tech-savvy generation of all time - there is still a massive number of pitfalls waiting for them that parents need to be aware of. 

Why is Internet Safety Important?

The dangers of the connected world are as real as the benefits, and parents must understand the issues their children will face online. In this article, we will highlight the most important considerations - while guiding you through all the necessary steps for ensuring that your child’s activities do not lead them to online dangers or real-world repercussions. 

We have spent years providing consumers with advice about digital privacy and internet security, and during that time we have explored many online security topics that are useful to parents. 

There is no single piece of software parents can use to provide their children with comprehensive online safety. Instead, we firmly believe that parental knowledge is key to minimizing the risks that young people face online. 

In this guide, we will walk you through the best software solutions that you can use, while also explaining why attention, knowledge, and education are just as important.

What Online Dangers Exist?

The internet is filled with exciting opportunities to learn and explore and it is not our intention to frighten parents into making their children avoid this fantastic resource. Instead, we aim to provide information about its potential dangers - alongside constructive advice for dealing with them.

To get started, we have created a list of the biggest dangers facing children and teenagers today.

Cyberstalking

Cyberstalking is the act of using the internet or online service to harass someone. At its worst, cyberstalking can have a chilling impact on the lives of its victim, which is why protecting children against it is so important. 

Thanks to social media services it has never been easier to observe people online. While sharing via Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter can be a fun pastime - oversharing can be dangerous because it is possible for strangers to become obsessed with you or your family's activities.

Parents must understand that any information uploaded to the internet may make you vulnerable to cyberstalking. 

Cyberbullying

According to Kids Health, cyberbullying usually takes place within a child’s peer group. Despite this, cyberbullying can be extremely concerning and any information that your child posts online could result in them being victimized. 

Cyberbullying can range from casual teasing to cases that result in a serious threat to a child’s mental health and safety. Statistics suggest that around 50% of children have been exposed to some form of online bullying, which means that it is essential for parents to protect their children. 

When it comes to providing care, software is currently unable to replace a parent's watchful eye and attention. What it is important to remember is that children often prove reluctant to discuss cyberbullying issues, meaning that parents must address the potential issue head-on. 

Frequent, open discussions can help make children feel more confident about chatting about their problems, and it is vital for parents to reinforce that their child is not going to be in any trouble no matter what might have happened to them online.

It’s also worth mentioning that The Megan Meier Foundation claims that 15% of teenagers admit to being cyberbullies themselves. Parents, must seek to be watchful for any evidence that their child may be acting out and bullying others. 

Obscene and Offensive Content

The internet creates an opportunity for children to be exposed to pornography on an almost daily basis. It is for this reason that it is so important for parents to monitor what their children do online - and to set parental locks that ensure adult content is not easily accessible. 

According to GuardChild, 70% of children have accidentally encountered online pornography and that only a third of families use filters or parental control software to stop this from occurring. 

Software alone isn’t able to prevent children from encountering pornography – because every games console, smartphone, tablet, Smart TV is a potential point of access. For this reason, parents must remain vigilant. 

In addition, the NSPCC claims that around 25% of children have been exposed to “racist or hate messages” online. This kind of material is prevalent online, which means that parents must monitor and communicate with their children about all the potential material they could find online. Parents should also set parental blocks on any content that is considered hateful, or otherwise disturbing. 

Sextortion

Sextortion involves using material shared online to extort a victim, which is why it is essential to teach children that they must not share revealing images of themselves online under any circumstances. Some young people have even been coerced into sexual encounters in order to stop their pictures from being disseminated. 

The best way to minimize the chance of your child becoming a victim is to drive home the point that anything shared online can be passed on, and that it is common for images shared online to be used to blackmail victims. Even images shared with trusted friends or crushes may later result in revenge porn or unwanted sharing among peer groups. A worrying 11% of teenagers have admitted to sharing naked pictures of themselves online or via text message.

Child Sex Offenders

This is perhaps the most frightening prospect, but it is important to understand that the potential for children to meet sex offenders online.

In some cases, children later go on and meet people they meet online in real life, which is why it is essential that all guardians know how to spot potential signs of grooming.

Figures have previously suggested that as many as one in seven children have been exposed to some kind of sexual solicitation online. Parents should communicate with their children about the dangers of meeting strangers online and be vigilant for any unusual communication on their children’s devices to ensure that no unhealthy relationships with strangers are being formed. 

Technical Threats and Scams

Cybercriminals know that children are more susceptible to certain kinds of threats. Like adults, children and teenagers are often targeted by hackers who send them malware, phishing attempts, and other internet scams. 

Malevolent pop-ups that result in exposure to spyware and malware are often embedded in seemingly trivial sites for kids. Cybercriminals know that children often use their parent’s PC or laptop, which means that if they get a foothold on a machine they could end up stealing the parent’s sensitive logins or card details. 

Teenagers are also a common target for scammers looking to victimize them with fake offers, freebies, and illegal pirated versions of software, games, movies or music. 

Children often learn where to download free movies and TV shows from their friends, and the potential dangers can be a cause for concern if your child is not savvy about how to spot dodgy executables on download websites. 

Even streaming free content online can expose children to viruses and malware, which means children must be educated never to click on pop-ups and links and to close them instead.   

Downloading via BitTorrent sites is illegal, and, if your IP address is flagged the person who pays the bill could face bills or potential legal action. For this reason, it is essential to educate children about the dangers of downloading pirated content.

Education and awareness about how to use websites securely is the best way to proceed. Perhaps most importantly, parents must also educate themselves about internet scams such as phishing, which are designed to make victims part with their personal details. This data is valuable, and while children are less likely to have bank accounts and credit cards, their personal data could still be used for identity theft, which could cause ongoing problems later in life. 

Finally, in-game micro-transactions are another possibility. These allow children to advance further in games or obtain extra features or characters - in exchange for money. While these are not a scam, they could result in your child racking up huge bills on your connected credit or debit card. 

Online Privacy

Using online services and social media is the easiest way to breach your privacy. For this reason, it is essential that parents help children to understand what is safe to share and what isn’t. Privacy settings should be used in full, and kids should be encouraged to avoid providing personal information which could result in them being targeted by cyberstalkers. 

Service providers like Facebook have a terrible track record of keeping consumer data private. For this reason, kids should be encouraged to withhold personal information from those platforms (even within private messages) as much as possible. 

Internet-connected devices can also breach children’s privacy. The company behind CloudPets previously suffered a security breach that exposed the login details of nearly a million customers. That breach exposed millions of recordings created by children to hackers. VTech, another firm that makes toys, accidentally left children’s photos on an unprotected server - again allowing cybercriminals to access them. 

While there is little parents can do to stop these kinds of breaches, parents can help their kids by ensuring that they only ever use connected products made by reputable manufacturers. Cheap connected devices and toys (perhaps made in China or elsewhere) stand to harbor more potential flaws, which could allow those devices to be hacked or added to botnets.

We recommend that parents pay close attention to the setup steps for all connected devices to ensure that they use strong, unique passwords. Parents must also be watchful for any security issues that might arise with any of those products and must be ready to get updates and patches as soon as they are made available. 

The Modern Internet: The Good and the Bad

Considering the threats described above, parents would be forgiven for considering canceling their broadband and listing all the family’s electronic devices on eBay.

However, the reality is that the internet is a life-altering educational tool, which can allow children to learn just about anything. This is why internet accessibility is used as a measuring stick by Freedom House when judging freedom levels around the globe.

Everyone should be given access to the internet, which is why parents are going to need to stay up to speed on all its potential pitfalls.

How to Protect Your Family

Perhaps the most important general rule which it comes to the internet is that it must be used responsibly. Parents should use the Internet with their children - and must always offer support and supervision when they do so.

Admittedly, many of the online threats described above become more relevant as young people begin to reach their teenage years. However, the threat of clicking on pop-ups and agreeing to permissions is even more likely when children are younger. It is always a good idea to start their education early, to ensure they are already watchful for all online risks as they grow up.

Most important of all, it is essential to make it clear that the internet is something that will always be used under supervision.

House Rules for Computer 

Having house rules for computers is a good starting point for families who want to mitigate the dangers posed by the internet. Different families will, no doubt, have different approaches. However, below we have provided ten possible house rules that are considered best practice.

1.    Keep computers in living areas

The best place for the family computer is in a communal living area, where children know that a parent may look over their shoulder at any time. This will ensure that kids understand that they are being supervised.

2.    Implement an “Internet embargo.”

Time-limiting your child’s access to the internet can help to ensure that they don’t become obsessively attached to being online. Kids should also engage in physical activities and games, and parents should seek to ensure their kids are spending time doing a variety of activities. 

The internet should primarily be used for educational purposes, with time for socializing or online entertainment carefully restricted to within appropriate limits. For younger children, removing an internet-connected device or smartphone from them at bedtime is completely appropriate. 

3.    Agree that parents will “friend” children on their social networks

When children begin to desire their own social media presence, it is vital for parents to friend them on that platform. This will permit them to monitor their child’s activity and interactions. The parent should also have a direct ability to enter that account to monitor the contents of messages and to review privacy settings on a regular basis to ensure that the child’s online presence is safe.

4.    Parents must have password access to children’s devices

Children should not have password-protected devices that permit them to lock their activity away. Parents should insist on knowing the child’s screen lock pin number or pattern to ensure that they can monitor all the apps on their devices. 

It is also important to be aware that it is possible to delete apps and reinstall them on a daily basis. For this reason, it may be necessary to monitor the child’s app store history (or to set up a parental lock on the app store so that the child has must go through the parent to access new apps). 

Where teenagers are concerned, it is worth remembering that an app store history can be cleared each day. If the history is being cleared - you should ask your child why they are deleting it so regularly. If they are deleting regularly, there is possibly cause for concern - because the child is attempting to hide the use of an app.

5.    Parents approve or veto use of new social networks

If a child is interested in joining a new social network - it is important that they understand that they must ask for permission first. 

The NSPCC provides a useful resource that helps parents learn about new social networks, what they do, and what ages they are suitable for. In addition, parents should put a parental lock on their child’s app store to ensure they can’t get apps without permission. 

6.    Children must tell parents before providing any personal information online

Handing over personal information online should be the exception, rather than the rule. Children should understand why it is a bad idea to hand out addresses and phone numbers and should be encouraged to check with a parent anytime that this kind of data is requested. 

Parents should explain to kids that they never hand over their own personal data unless it is necessary.

7.    Children must only use online chat to people they talk to in real life

This should be a no-brainer, but GuardChild states that nearly 70% of teenagers are regularly contacted by strangers online without their parents’ knowledge. Constant reminders on this are paramount, and supervision must be enacted to ensure the rules are being followed.

8.    Web browsing histories should not be deleted

Young people who continually delete their web histories are generally looking at things they don’t want others to know about. You may, therefore, wish to make deleting browser histories a forbidden action for your children. The same applies to the use of “incognito” or private browsing modes, to avoid maintaining any history. If a child has spent hours browsing online and there is no history to show for it - this is probably a cause for concern.

9.    Children must report bullying or anything distressing they see online

Encouraging your children to be open about what they encounter online (with the reassurance that doing so will not get them in trouble) is a great way to keep the lines of communication open. 

An ongoing, open discussion about topics like cyberbullying should help to make children feel more comfortable about sharing their issues. Kids are much more likely to be open with parents when they genuinely believe that their parents are on their side and want to help.

10. Breaches must mean a loss of privileges

It’s almost inevitable that children will bend the rules at some point. When they do, it is important for parents to follow up on their threatened sanctions – or nobody will take the rules seriously in the future. Supporting kids is essential, but a direct contravention of house rules should be punished when necessary.

Installing Antivirus Software

An antivirus program is essential to the health of your computer and it is the first line of defense against unwanted programs. Good antivirus software actively scans for all malicious programs including viruses, malware, spyware, trojans, and worms. And some services can even alert you against scam websites and phishing attempts.

Here are a few pointers to be aware of when it comes to antivirus software:

1. Not all antivirus software is equal

It’s well worth checking reviews before choosing your antivirus software as not every product offers watertight protection. Paying more for antivirus is not necessarily going to get you better security. Even some basic free options provide the most necessary anti-virus tools you need. So, do your research. 

2. No antivirus software is 100% effective

It is impossible for any antivirus product to be 100% effective, and you won’t find one that claims to be. This is because virus and malware protection is a constant cat-and-mouse game, where hackers create new exploits and antivirus vendors must scramble to protect their users against them. As such, education and vigilance is paramount - as is keeping your chosen antivirus permanently up to date.

3. Macs need antivirus too

Whether Apple Macs need antivirus software has been a matter of much debate. However, these days it is agreed that Macs must be protected. There are frequent reports of new Mac-specific viruses, and warnings that Macs are not as secure as people think. For this reason, we strongly recommend getting an antivirus for Mac. 

Consider a Child-Friendly Search Engine

There are alternatives to popular search engines like Google and Yahoo that offer children added protection against stumbling on unwanted content

  1. KidRex.org sits on top of Google’s search technology with the intention of only bringing back results that are child-friendly.
  2. KidsClick! only bringing up curated results from content that has been screened by librarians in the US.
  3. KidTopia is aimed at preschoolers and only serves “educator-approved” sites.

Although there is no comprehensive way to magically prevent children from finding inappropriate content online, the sites above can vastly reduce the potential of stumbling on unwanted material. Thus, we recommend setting one of these options up as the homepage on the family PC - while using parental locks to remove access to other popular search engines (particularly for younger children). 

Use Parental Controls

Implementing parental controls is the best way to ensure your kids’ online safety. However, while using these controls is effective - it should never be considered a substitute for parental supervision. 

Other parents will not necessarily implement the same controls and house rules. This can mean that all of your efforts are undone if your child visits a friend’s house - or even if they use someone else’s smartphone. Despite this, parental controls offer the best protection method available to you. 

In addition, it is a good idea to discuss the use of parental controls with your children's’ friends’ parents - to ensure that they have seen this article and understand how to make their home safe. 

1. Connection-level parental controls

Some ISPs allow you to set parental controls, which automatically block all pornography and other potentially offensive content. In some countries (such as the UK) these controls are activated by default, which means you must opt-out of the filtering to access any adult content (and a variety of other websites that get swept up in the process). 

This kind of blanket protection can be useful, and parents who decide to block all adult content can opt to use a VPN to regain access themselves. However, for parents who don’t want to lock themselves out of content to protect their kids - other options are available.

It is also worth noting that any website blocks enforced by ISPs can also be bypassed easily by children using a VPN or proxy. For this reason, it is essential to ensure that you monitor children’s use of a VPN, and if necessary use blacklisting or Net Nanny DNS blocking software to ensure kis cannot access particular websites even with a VPN.

2. Operating system parental controls

In recent years, the parental control options built into operating systems have improved significantly. On Macs, for example, parents can set up children’s user accounts so that they only work at certain times, and block access to certain websites and apps. It is even possible to prevent a child from using a computer’s webcam, if this is considered a worry.

Options for Microsoft Windows are similar, with app, game, and website restrictions all possible. Details available here. Unfortunately, Microsoft’s insistence in tying all of these options to online Microsoft accounts do make it quite laborious to set up. However, it is important that you do so.

3. Dedicated parent control software

Software like Net Nanny takes Internet safety to the next level. It provides features for blocking content, controlling access to social media, and even monitoring family internet use so that you know exactly what is accessed and when.

Net Nanny is also available on mobile Android and iOS devices, which means it can be used to lock down mobile devices children use outside the home (at school or elsewhere).

The major downside is that the complexity of this kind of software can make setting it up a bit of a pain. While this will take a little effort, it is definitely worth doing because children who use devices with parental controls are much safer than those using unprotected connections.

Teenagers and the Internet

Teenagers tend to pursue their independence more decisively, which can make keeping them safe online more challenging. With today’s social paradigm so closely connected to cyberspace, it is inevitable that internet-related issues are going to be prevalent while parenting.

As is always the case, a delicate balance must be struck between granting freedom and providing safety. This balance will be unique to individual family dynamics, and individual childrens’ personalities. 

Cyberbullying, stalking, predators - and the other threats discussed in this guide - all become more pertinent when a child enters their teenage years; so parents must work hard to strike up trust and rapport with their child. 

Child psychologists suggest a gradual relaxation of house rules previously discussed as kids grow up. And, if you have successfully implemented cyber education from a young age - you should have ensured that:

  1. Your children are already aware of the kinds of online risks they might face.
  2. Yoru children know they can come to you for help and advice without fear of judgement and punishment.
  3. Your children know that you are switched on and are unlikely to be fooled.

This is why parents must educate themselves about online dangers and not leave all the knowledge in the hands of their children.

Sexting

According to DoSomething.org, 24% of 14 to 17-year-olds have been involved in some form of nude sexting. So while the topic of sexting can be tough to raise with your kids, it is necessary to do so. 

One approach is to share some of DoSomething.org’s statistics with them. Kids need to understand that one in five people share private communications with third parties they weren’t originally intended for. 

Teenagers must be taught that nothing is truly private once it is disseminated online. The potential for revenge porn must be fully explained. 

Online Relationships & Meeting Strangers in Real Life

According to statistics, one-third of 15 to 18-year-olds attempt to meet people they meet online in real life. Often, this is probably innocent, and how many modern friendships are formed, - maybe they have met kids from other local schools who like similar music or have the same hobbies. 

However, meeting strangers in real life can pose very serious dangers - which is why young people must be monitored and given rules. This is an excellent example of how house rules, parental consistency, and constant vigilance come together to facilitate the process of protecting children.

Parents must seek to be involved in ascertaining exactly who their kids are deciding to meet and why. And they should seek to ensure that it is going to occur in a public space or within the safety of the family home itself. 

Once again, this is a sensitive area, where parents must strike a reasonable balance between relinquishing control over their offspring and providing safety and supervision. 

Child psychologists agree that it is preferable to strive for an open dialogue where teenagers feel comfortable enough to tell their parents what they intend to do. However, they also remind parents that the level of responsibility afforded to children must be judged on a case-by-case basis - because not all children are the same.

Online Behaviour and Trolling

All teenagers are likely to be exposed to some level of online trolling and hateful behavior. Statistics suggest that a considerable number of teens are either victims or perpetrators of this kind of behavior.

For example, a UK Safer Internet study, reported by The Guardian, found that 80% of “adolescents had seen or heard online hate during the previous 12 months.”

Once again, open dialog between youngsters and parents is the best course of action.

Mobile Device Safety

Smartphones and tablets make keeping minors safe online more difficult. Above, we discussed the use of parental controls, and some of these can be deployed on mobile devices. It is possible to block access to adult content at the network level - so that these websites are blocked when children are browsing the internet via 3G, 4G, or 5G mobile network connections. On some cellular networks, having this filtering in place is the default setting. However, this all goes out the window if your child connects to a WiFi network with no such filtering in place.

Using software like Net Nanny is as close as you’ll get to “locking down” a child’s device with your preferences. However, education and monitoring remain important. You cannot pass the responsibility for your children’s online protection to software - no matter how much you pay for it.

Wi-Fi Security

Free WiFi networks are both a blessing and a curse. Being able to get online for free is a luxury that can save parents money, however, it does mean that the house rules and blocks you have set up at home are no longer in place.

In addition, public WiFi networks carry unique dangers of their own - including giving hackers the ability to intercept and steal your child’s data. If you need more information on the dangers of public WiFi please click here, This article will also provide you with advice on how protect your children by using a Virtual Private Network (VPN). However, a VPN could also potentially allow young people to bypass other blocks and filtering measures you have put in place - so it is essential that you fully evaluate the risks.

The key thing is to ensure your offspring understand that public WiFi is not as safe as using the one at home and that they may want to avoid entering payment details and sensitive passwords when they use it unless they are connected to a reliable VPN.

Geolocation

Geolocation features and GPS tracking can allow firms to track your kids. Fitbits and other connected wearables have been at the center of a growing number of privacy concerns in recent years. Even the geolocation features on games like Pokemon Go have been known to cause some problems, by allowing stalkers and criminals to track down people to mug or attack them. For this reason, it is worth considering the use of GPS tracking devices carefully.

However, when it comes to keeping an eye on children, location tracking can actually prove quite useful. Apple iOS devices have a “Find Friends” app, which allows selected friends and family members to see exactly where people (or at least their iPhones or iPads) are. If you and your children have iPhones, setting this up is a good way to ensure you always know where they are.

The flip-side of this is that the same software could be used to stalk your children, so it is important to ensure that they do not grant access to their location to other contacts. Thankfully, this is easy to check and parents should monitor the situation closely if they do use this feature.

Other apps such as periscope can be set to show the location of a video that is uploaded, and it is able to reveal exactly where you live if a video is uploaded from home. These kinds of apps, must be carefully denied access to GPS tracking or else your child could accidentally expose their location to strangers. 

Security measures for mobile devices

Smartphones and tablets are susceptible to a huge number of viruses and exploits which can put your children at risk. Android devices are most at risk, so if your child uses one it is worth installing an antivirus. AVL is a well-known option that can help root out malicious apps and phishing websites as well as viruses and trojans.

 Apple remains adamant that such antivirus systems are not required on its iOS devices due to the way the operating system is designed. However, there is a growing body of evidence that shows that people are being successfully targeted with viruses on iOS devices. Thus, it may be a good idea to think about using an antivirus program (this becomes essential if the iOS device is jailbroken).

In addition, it is essential to shore up all mobile devices by following these steps:

  • Always use passwords and lock devices to stop them from being easily targeted by thieves.
  • Keep devices safe and do not leave them lying around where they could be stolen.
  • Calls from unknown or blocked numbers should be ignored.

Where possible, it’s also well worth making use of geolocation features for security purposes such as the Android Device Manager app. This app released by Google lets users locate, ring, lock, and wipe their devices remotely.

Social Networks

Social networks are the easiest place that your offspring might end up meeting strangers or be exposed to negative influences. Friends of friends are often considered safe, but the reality is that it is impossible to police every contact in every friend’s circle, especially if other parents are not being as thorough when it comes to ensuring their children use privacy settings and avoid random friend requests.

In many ways, the only way to oversee what is going on with each network is to join it yourself, and become a “follower” or “friend” of your child. This will allow you to monitor their activities but also to make use of its features and learn to understand its problem areas, As a parent, you should explore all of its privacy settings and be capable of checking that your child has made their account only as visible (or invisible) as necessary.

The NSPCC’s Resource is an extremely useful first port of call for learning about the latest social networks that are becoming popular. However, while its age recommendations are a useful guide, there’s no substitute for trying out those services yourself. If a child is spending a lot of time on any particular network and you don’t feel you understand it fully, it’s definitely time to download and use it. Here are some examples of what the NSPCC has to say about some of the most popular social networks:

Facebook

Facebook is ubiquitous enough that most parents probably know what to expect, but interestingly, 58% of children themselves identify risks in using it. These include contact with strangers, online bullying, and privacy issues. The NSPCC suggests 13 as the earliest suitable age for Facebook.

Snapchat

Snapchat also has a minimum age recommendation of 13. It’s a worrying network for parents due to its use of video messages that disappear after being viewed. One key to using Snapchat safely is ensuring children only communicate with their friends, and don’t leave their account “open.” Kids have been known to share their Snapchat handle inside computer games and on Instagram, this is a practice that can lead to snapchat videos being watched by large numbers of unwanted people. 

Instagram

Instagram shares the age recommendation of 13, and while it is not perceived to be as risky as Facebook by younger people, this belief seems rather dubious. Instagram harbors a lot of adult and inappropriate content and is an easy place for children to be exposed to material and unknown contacts. With Instagram getting followers is the name of the game, and this usually involves attracting as many strangers to look at your photos and comment on them. This can lead to communication with strangers, who may then decide to communicate via private messages.  

Habbo Hotel

Habbo Hotel is one that many adults probably haven’t heard of, but is one of the most popular current social networks in the UK, according to the NSPCC. On the face of it, this is a gamified environment, where people interact in a virtual hotel. It shares a 13 rating. However, it is known to have many “fake accounts” and has been known to be accessed by children who are younger. This is concerning because according to the NSPCC it does expose children to talking to strangers.

Minecraft

Minecraft is essentially a construction-based game that often appeals to children under 13. Dangers with this game include bullying, rude and inappropriate comments, and the risk of hacked accounts. This is perhaps one where parents may feel more inclined to overrule the NSPCC’s age-13 recommendation as long as accounts are correctly set up and barred from unauthorized in-game purchases.

In all cases, what children are allowed to use must ultimately be decided by individual parents. Different parents will inevitably have different values, priorities, and attitudes to risk. There’s no pretending this is anything less than a minefield, especially once some members of a peer group start being allowed to use things that others aren’t.

This is much like making parental decisions on game and movie certificates - if slightly more complicated. As long as you are strict with monitoring and insisting on the use of privacy features that stop accounts being open to non-contacts it should be possible to allow your child to use social media without cause for concern. However, we urge you to keep on top of monitoring and supervising your children at all times.

Internet Safety Facts

In this article, we have touched upon a few facts and statistics. However, to reinforce the need for safety online we thought we would add this compendium of interesting facts: 

  1. According to BBC Newsround, 72% of 10 to 12-year-olds are active on social media. This stands in direct contradiction to the NSPCC’s suggestions and means that parents either don't know or aren’t being protective enough over what their kids do online.
  2. Last year, OFCOM revealed that online time among young people had surpassed time in front of the TV for the first time.
  3. A CNBC study found that the average age a US citizen gets their first cellphone is between 10 and 12 years old.
  4. Childline, a UK-based children’s charity was contacted by over 11,000 children regarding “online issues” in 2016 alone, as revealed by Metro.
  5. The Internet is now used by just under 50% of the global population. This represents growth of nearly 1000% since 2000, according to Internet World Stats figures


Written by: Ray Walsh

Digital privacy expert with 5 years experience testing and reviewing VPNs. He's been quoted in The Express, The Times, The Washington Post, The Register, CNET & many more. Ray is currently rated #4 VPN and #3 internet privacy authority by Agilience.com.

1 Comment

  1. Adampaul

    on August 2, 2019
    Reply

    very well said totally agree with you online safety is necessary for your kids and teens who are not have a good knowledge of being going online

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