Electronic devices are now used by children for online classes, entertainment, and correspondence. We understand that one of your main concerns as a parent is internet safety for your children. That’s why I’ve compiled a list of easy-to-follow internet safety tips to help you protect your child (or children, if you have more than one) from the dangers that lurk online.
This article (which you are currently reading) discusses various resources and tools that will automatically shield children from various cyberthreats and inappropriate material.
So, without further ado, let’s look at the first six internet safety tips for kids.
Internet Safety for Kids: 6 Tips on Tools & Best Practices
Enable Parental Control Tools on Your Child’s Devices
We understand. You’re busy and can’t always hang with your kids when they’re surfing the web. Fortunately, there are several free parental control tools available that will block all pages that are considered inappropriate for children.
Set Parental Control on Your Wi-Fi Router
To allow parental controls on your Wi-Fi router, follow these steps:
- Google the phrase “what is my IP address.”
- Then, in the address bar, type the IP address.
- You’ll be taken to the page of your router’s provider, where you’ll need to enter the router’s credentials. In most cases, passwords are written on the router itself, or you set them when you first connected to the internet. You can contact your internet service provider if you don’t know the credentials.
- You’ll probably see a variety of choices now, such as:
Sort your devices into groups: Adult devices and children’s devices may be separated.
- When you enable this feature for your children’s devices, it automatically blocks malicious, dangerous, and explicit websites.
- Wi-Fi pauses: On the kids’ computers, you can set the Wi-Fi to pause for an hour.
Note that depending on the router manufacturer, these choices can vary.
2. Set Parental Controls on Your Kids’ Browsers
Extensions and add-ons for protection and parental control are available to improve the browser’s security and include personalised parental control functionality.
For Google Chrome, there are a variety of parental control and safety extensions available, including:
- Blocksi Web Filter
- Parental Control – Adult Content Blocker
- Web Nanny
You’ll be able to filter the content your kids watch online after installing each of these extensions. These extensions keep track of a large number of domains that are considered unsuitable for children. Some extensions block not only adult content websites, but also phishing and malware-infected websites.
Turn on parental controls in Google Preferences on each of your children’s computers and browsers. Check the choice to allow SafeSearch:
Other browsers should also have parental control extensions included. To read the suggestions, click on the browser names below:
- How to use Internet Explorer’s parental controls
- How to use Mozilla Firefox’s parental control add-ons
3. Set Parental Control on Microsoft Devices
On your child’s screen, look for Family options:
In the window, select the View family settings option. Create a community for all of your Microsoft devices at home. You’ll be able to do the following from this window:
- Mods, sports, and websites should all have time limits.
- Filter the material on the internet.
- Keep track of the software, games, and other media that your children use (on Windows 10 and Xbox).
- View a report on the internet behaviour of those users.
- Block pages that aren’t safe for kids.
- Require children to consult with a parent before purchasing products.
4. Set Parental Control on Android Devices
Install the Family Connection app on your Android device and your children’s devices.
You can display their activity reports, set time limits for applications, and remotely lock their devices using this app. It has a directed download feature that prevents your children from installing apps without your permission. It also helps you to monitor your child’s position on Google Maps if they have an Android device with them.
5. Set Parental Control on Apple Devices
The directions for Apple products are a little longer. That’s why, rather than listing all of the steps here, we’ve included links to the best tools for setting parental controls on different Apple products. Click the links in the list below to set parental controls on the following devices:
You should use parental control software to prevent your children from accessing inappropriate content on their computers. According to Paul Bischoff, a privacy advocate at Comparitech, be cautious not to abuse these resources by invading your children’s privacy or imposing needless restrictions:
“Parental control software is available for most major operating systems these days. It allows parents to manage, monitor, and filter what content kids access on their devices. Some can also be used to track kids’ locations. Although this is great for parents of younger children, it might be too invasive for a teenager.”
Change the Administrative Privileges
Don’t grant your children administrative rights. For both the Windows and Mac platforms, there are two types of accounts when it comes to access and privileges:
- Local Users
The local user account holder has restricted rights, which means they can’t use a few key features. A local user account, for example, cannot instal or activate any new applications or software on the device. It is only possible for managers to do so.
Build two profiles on your child’s screen. Create a local user profile for your child and keep the main administrator profile for yourself.
In Windows 10, here’s how to make a local user account:
- Select Start and type Settings into the search box. Navigate to Accounts. Select Family and other users from the drop-down menu.
- Select Add another user to this device.
- Select Add a user without a Microsoft account on the next page if you don’t have this person’s sign-in details.
- Select Next after entering a username, password, password hint, or security questions.
Give the kids these certificates. These user IDs and passwords are required every time they log into the device.
On a Mac (Version 11), here’s how to make a local user:
- Open System Preferences by clicking the Apple icon in the top-left corner.
- Users and Groups may be chosen.
- To unlock it, click the lock in the bottom left corner.
- Press Return on your keyboard or click the + button in the bottom left corner.
- Choose the account kind. Standard, Admin, and Managed would be the three choices. Here, choose Norm.
Your child’s full name, user account name, password (twice), and a password hint are all necessary fields.
Create a new user by clicking Create User. When you log into your Mac after that, you’ll see the new user’s profile as an option.
Install A Robust Security Software on Your Child’s Devices
Your children’s computers or phones are scanned in real time by security software. These programmes are designed to detect and delete malicious software (also known as malware) as well as prevent access to malicious websites.
Below are some examples of “freemium” and commercial security applications and services:
- Comodo Antivirus is a popular antivirus programme (Highly Recommended)
- Malwarebytes is a programme that detects and removes malware
- AVG Antivirus is a free antivirus programme.
- Bitdefender Antivirus software
- Avira Antivirus is a free antivirus programme.
As a result, if your children attempt to access a malicious website by mistake (or on purpose), the app will either block them or show them a warning notification.
Similarly, when your children attempt to download an infected file, software, or app, security software may show an alert message and can prevent or stop the download. You must teach your children to take these warnings seriously and to never disregard them.
Have A Contingency Plan Ready
Even the most diligent users will fall victim to sophisticated and well-planned cyber attacks. Similarly, even the most sophisticated security tools can miss certain forms of advanced malware. As a result, you should have a backup plan in place in case your child falls victim to a cyber assault.
We’ve compiled a list of useful tools that you can use in a variety of circumstances.
1. Ransomware Decryption Tools
Ransomware is similar to abduction in that it targets the children’s data or computers rather than the children themselves. In a ransomware attack, a cybercriminal encrypts your data or computer and demands payment in exchange for access.
First and foremost, inform your child about these types of scams and tell them not to be alarmed.
Second, here are a few free decryption tools that might be able to help you get your data back. To evaluate which form of ransomware has infected the system, use tools like CRYPTO SHERIFF, ID Ransom, or Bitdefender.
Using decryption tools offered by industry leaders after determining the form of ransomware.
2. Tools to Wipe the Device’s Memory
Many forms of malware, including virus strains, worms, ransomware, trojans, and other malware, can be fully erased from your device’s memory using free software.
It’s worth noting, though, that you’ll lose all of your device’s saved data and won’t be able to recover anything after that. However, on the bright side, you may be able to remove all malware traces and save your child’s computer.
To clear the memory on your hard drive, you can use either free or paid software.
If your child’s phone has been infected with malware, you can wipe its memory and restore it to factory settings.
Pick your phone manufacturer from the list below and follow the reset instructions:
- Samsung Galaxy
If the malware has spread to the device’s firmware, certain forms of malware, like rootkits, might not be wiped out with these acts. In the worst-case scenario, you’ll have to replace the specific system component.
3. Report Phishing
Phishing is a growing form of cyber attack that affects both children and adults. If your child has been a victim of phishing, you can file a formal complaint using one of the following methods:
Make a report to the Internet Crime Complaint Center of the FBI (IC3).
Fill out the Complaint Report form on the Federal Trade Commission’s website.
Send an update to the Anti-Phishing Working Group on the international level.
4. Register Your Complaint to Social Media Platform/Email Client
This is a list of tools for reporting or recovering your child’s hacked account on various social media sites and email clients:
5. Change Passwords
If you suspect your children’s account has been compromised, alter all other online accounts’ passwords to something similar. Check haveibeenpwned.com for your child’s email address on a regular basis to see if their account has been compromised in any data breaches.
6. Law Enforcement Options
Do not hesitate to contact the local police if your children are being bullied or blackmailed. Most organisations have cybersecurity departments with the most up-to-date technological resources and strategies for locating the perpetrator. You can file a complaint with the FBI’s IC3 division. Also, see How to Report Cyberbullying for more details.
Keep All Hardware and Software Updated and Patched
Since they are unaware of the implications of obsolete software, people often ignore this small tip. Older versions often include security flaws that hackers may use to launch a cyber attack. Updates and fixes are used by developers to fix these bugs. As a result, one of the most critical internet safety tips for kids is to upgrade your children’s computers with the latest patched versions of apps, operating systems, software, and other technological components as soon as new updates become available.
Use Fun & Creative Educational Resources to Teach Cybersecurity
Many adults, let alone children, dislike reading lengthy cybersecurity books and papers. To pique their interest in cybersecurity for kids, you can use some creative videos, quizzes, puzzles, and games.
The Public Broadcasting Service’s (PBS) Nova Labs, according to Carla Diaz, co-founder of Broadband Search:
“PBS is a great place to not only teach children about cybersecurity but adults too. They have a range of quizzes, resources, and games to help you learn. By using something like this, parents who don’t have a lot of knowledge in cybersecurity can also learn something, making the experience that much more valuable.”
Former FBI Special Agent and mother of teen girls Stacey Mitry recommends using the following resources:
- Netsmartz: It includes games, videos, PowerPoint presentations, and more for kids in K-12.
- Justice.gov: It is created by the U.S. Department of Justice in response to kids’ increase in online activity during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Concluding Part 1 of the Internet Safety for Kids Series
We’ve tried to provide some simple but effective internet safety tools, resources, and contingency plans for kids. However, as Feedbeater’s Atish Ranjan points out:
“Technology can help you monitor and keep tabs on your kid’s online activity. But take care not to do this to curtail the interests and activities of your children. Do note that snooping on someone’s personal life is akin to breaching their privacy, even when your intentions are good enough. Take care not to take it too far. Your intention should be to keep them safe, not restricting their activities or their relationships.”
You should still respect your child’s privacy as a parent or guardian. Your ultimate aim should be to educate them about cyber threats before trusting their judgement.