Parents should take the time to set up security features and parental controls on the new devices they give their children for Christmas before wrapping up, a cyber security expert says.
Child psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos, an ambassador for internet safety group Internet Matters, said setting up new devices ahead of time would help parents “stay in control” of what they access. their children.
Smartphones, laptops, and other internet-connected devices are sure to be popular gifts given to children this Christmas, but some parents struggle to understand how to manage their security settings.
Internet Matters advises parents to download the apps their child uses ahead of time so they’re ready to go when they’re introduced, and to use the parental controls available. for internet browsers and app stores so that their children are not exposed to inappropriate content.
The group also emphasizes key features such as screen time managers that can be used on mobile devices as well as game consoles to limit the amount of time each day that a child can use the device itself. , in individual apps and games.
“Strengthening internet safety with children can be very stressful for parents, especially during the Christmas holidays when children have opportunities to play or they are using new digital devices that have been given to them. they are gifts that parents may have trouble wrapping their heads around,” said Dr Papadopoulos. said.
“Cybersecurity tasks and activities can be very stressful, especially during the holiday season when time tends to go by quickly.
“With this in mind, setting up safety features in real time allows you to control what your children can access, and when, to make the experience better from time to time go.
“First, always learn about the device, platform or app your child is using.
“You can do this by using the tool with them and asking them to show you how they work and what they do.
“Or you can look at the Internet Matters website where they have age appropriate guidelines for simplicity.
“This is so you know what your child is doing and what’s wrong and can be checked.”
Dr. Papadopoulos also encouraged parents to talk to their children about internet safety so that it is easier for young people to come to them if they encounter problems online.
“Talk to your child about his digital life this holiday season, so that he feels comfortable coming to you if something goes wrong,” she said.
“Talking to them from a young age makes it easier to retain good news. Be sure to have bite-sized words that are relevant to them.
“Choose to talk when you need to be together, like eating or sleeping. Bring the digital experience into everyday conversations.
“Model the behavior you want them to display by talking about your day. Be open and encourage and support them.”
A range of online guides and resources can be found on the Matters website www.internetmatters.org.