Saturday , November 27 2021

How to Protect Your Children Online -NCC Gives Safety Tips (III)

It has become unrealistic in our technology-driven world to isolate oneself or our children, not get a phone or computer, or pretend our children can avoid the Internet. Although Parents/Caregivers may delay their children involvement in the Internet, the reality of its presence in each home is inevitable.

Following our discussions on risks children face online, the Nigerian Communications Commission in  partnership with the Cece Yara Foundation has continue to educate parents and caregivers on safety tips for protecting children online.

According to them, more responsibility lies with the parents and caregivers. However, the organizations highlighted ways they can minimize the risks and lighten the burden. They include;

Discuss and Engage your Children: Ask how your children use the internet. Make them show you some of their favorite sites and discuss with them, make them aware that there are things on the internet which may upset them and that they can always talk to you or any trusted adult.

  • Make sure your child realizes that he or she should never give out personal details, such as name, address, school, and telephone numbers, to online friends they do not know in the real world.
  • Tell the child to never respond to junk emails or open attachments that are from unknown sources.
  • Be aware of any changes in the way a child uses the internet, such as the amount of time spent online. Also support your child to report bullying online, by contacting you immediately it occurs.
  • Encourage children to use nicknames and login names that don’t reveal any personal information about them.
  • Educate children on the possibility of people using fake names purposely to cheat, hurt or impersonate others.
  • Use the parental control settings on your browser, search engine and internet security package.
  • Work with your child to understand how search engines work so that they don’t stumble on inappropriate content.
  • Consider using the filtering software that is available from your internet service provider or from retailers, these can help block inappropriate material. Check with your internet service provider to learn how to block sites you don’t want children to see.
  • Gain the Child’s or young persons confidence by appealing to his or her interests, teach them to think twice before they upload or download anything online.

READ MORE: Risks Your Children Face Online – NCC Gives Safety Tips (II)

Also, NCC stressed that if your child is using online platforms or programs for schoolwork, Parents should ensure a healthy balance between non-school related online activities and offline time.

Here are some helpful tips:

  • During non-school hours at home, establish time limits around when and for how long your child can be online.
  • Use the available technologies  parental controls and tools to monitor online time allow you to measure and set time limits on device use or internet access. Be honest and open about why you want to use these technologies.
  • Turn off notifications for social media apps to help minimize distractions.
  • Depending on your childs age, you can establish a family tech agreement that balances time spent in front of screens with offline activities. You can find templates by searching online.
  • Include offline activities in your routine at home  this can include family exercise, reading time or board games.

Model good behaviour in your use of media and digital devices: Generally, children will imitate what they see in the influencers around them. Hence, parents and cares must take active steps to ensure that they set the ideal example for online behaviour, that children can follow.

We suggest some tips below:

  • Set a time to your own media usage: Where you use media or devices heavily due to work, it is important to explain this to children so they understand
  • Avoid forwarding content to your children that you have not verified  Share lessons with children about other adults who have lost out of opportunities due to their online activities

Use parental controls and safe search options:

Parental controls are software tools that allow you to monitor and limit what your child sees and does online. They can be used to filter harmful content, such as adult or sexual material, and to monitor, time-limit or block your childs use of connected devices and functions such as cameras. While parental controls can be effective tools to help control and limit what your child does online, they are not foolproof.

Children online protection

There is no substitute for active parental engagement and oversight of a childs online activities. Helping your child build good online safety habits is just as important.

How do I use parental controls?

  • Check if your wi-fi router has software that allows you to set up parental controls across your whole family wi-fi network. Search online for reputable child-friendly wi-fi products using terms like child friendly routers, child friendly wi-fi, family friendly routers and child safe wifi’.
  • Check out the parental controls available on most tablets, smartphones, computers, TVs and gaming consoles. Look at: Windows, Mac OS, Apple (from iOS12), Android using Google Play or Google Family Link.
  • Use the PIN code locking feature on smart TVs or disconnecting the TV from the internet if you are not using the smart features.
  • Use parental controls to limit your childs cellular/mobile data usage.
  • Use the parental control measures on streaming services and gaming consoles to help manage gaming activity. Search for the streaming service or console name and ‘parental controls’ to see your options.
  • Download or purchase family safety controls or filters. To find a filter that is right for you, search online using terms like internet filters or family filters and check out its reviews.
  • Set up child-friendly search engines or select safe search settings on digital devices to help prevent your child from stumbling across inappropriate sites and content.
Safe Browsing Tips
* Encourage younger children to always ask an adult before clicking on an ‘Accept’, Allow or ‘OK’ button on a website as sites may display other messages or disclaimers that require a response.

* Set up bookmarks in your childs browser for sites you would like them to use.

* Learn how to adapt filtering tool settings to reflect each users age and skills if multiple members of your family share a device or program.

* Be aware that many search engines also contain advertising and know there is always a risk that inappropriate material could still slip through.

About Bukola Olanrewaju

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