7Age Appropriate Internet Safety Guidelines

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It is becoming increasingly commonplace for children of all ages to use the Internet. For instance, approximately 37% of children between the age of 3 and 4 have accessed the Internet via their parents' or sibling's PC or laptop. Therefore, it is important to introduce Internet Safety guidelines for children of all ages. Listed below are a series of online security measures, which are tailored to suit various age groups:

Safety Guidelines for children under the age of 5

Implement parental controls on all of your computers and mobile devices within your home: By blocking inappropriate sites and setting up unique passwords for all of your computers and mobile devices, your children will not be able to access the Internet without your permission.

Create child-friendly home pages for all your devices: Assign child friendly sites such as the search engine KidRex or the CBeebies website as your homepage. By doing so, you child will be channelled towards age appropriate online content.

Create a specific user account for your child: This account should have strict parental controls. By doing so, your child will have the independence of their own account with all the safety of comprehensive parental controls.

Introduce your child to educational online games: By teaching your child that the Internet can be both fun and educational, you are introducing them to positive online content. There are many free online gaming resources such as Kigose, Knowledge Adventure, Disney and Fisher Price that enable your child to discover the Internet in a constructive yet entertaining manner.

Create responsible computer boundaries within your home: By placing your computer in a family communal room, you can monitor the sites, which your child is visiting. This also allows you to monitor the amount of time which your child is spending online and enforce regular screen breaks for your child's health and wellbeing.

Share your child's internet safety rules with friends and family members: By informing your relatives and friends of your Internet safety practices, you can reduce the likelihood of your child accessing inappropriate content on external devices outside of the home or via Wi-Fi networks.

Safety Guidelines for children aged between 6 and 9

Implement parental controls on all of your computers and mobile devices within your home: By blocking inappropriate sites and setting up unique passwords for all of your computers and mobile devices, your children will not be able to access the Internet without your permission.

Regularly update your parental control software: As your child grows up, their online interests will change. Therefore, you need to continually update and customise your home's Internet security controls in order to suit the online activities of your child.

Talk with your child about safe Internet practices: Begin to introduce the concept of personal information with your child. Teach them the type of information that they should and should not share online. If your child is ever unsure about whether to share information online, advise them to come to your for advice. By maintaining this open and honest relationship with your child, you are teaching them to act safely and responsibly whilst online.

Scrutinise the age ratings on all of the online content and games which your child accesses: Talk to your child about the type of content that they are viewing so that you can reach an informed decision about whether the content is appropriate for their age.

Collaborate with your older children: Endeavour to work as a team regarding Internet safety. If you talk with your older children and teach them not to share inappropriate content with their siblings, then you can work as a family to protect your younger children whilst they are online. In this manner, you should advise your older children to logout of all of their accounts before leaving their computer. This will prevent your younger children from accidentally viewing content which is not suitable for their age group.

Safety Guidelines for children aged between 10 and 12

Assign boundaries for mobile devices: It is around this age that your child will begin to receive their own mobile devices. Therefore, it is important that you assign boundaries for these devices; whether they be a mobile phone, tablet, laptop or games console which has access to the Internet. By educating your child about protecting their personal information online, as well as teaching them to take regular screen breaks, you can help them to use the Internet independently yet responsibly.

Help your child to set up comprehensive privacy settings: Whether it is on their games console, social networking sites or mobile phone, you can collaborate with your child in order to bolster their Internet security. By helping your child to implement PIN codes on their phone, as well as customise their privacy settings for their online profiles, you can help them stay safe without appearing as if you are imposing strict rules and restrictions on them.

Encourage your child to talk to you about their online activity: If you set too many rules and restrictions on your child, they will be more likely to hide their online activities from you. However, if you provide the foundation for an open and honest relationship, your child will be more likely to seek your advice about online issues. If you talk to your child about appropriate online content and how they can report any issues, you can help them stay safe online without conflict.

Follow the rules: Social networking sites such as Facebook and YouTube exercise a minimum age limit of 13. Therefore, you are completely entitled to prevent your child from accessing these sites until they are of age.

Safety Guidelines for children aged 13 and over

Speak openly and honestly with your child: As your child matures, it becomes increasingly difficult to control what they can access online. Therefore, it is pivotal that you talk with your child about the types of content, which they are likely to view online. Explain to them that they should not feel pressured to post or share personal information or photos, and that if they have any issues or are being contacted by suspicious individuals that they should tell you and you can help them resolve the issue.

Adjust yet maintain some of the parental controls on your computer: At this age, it is important to demonstrate to your child that you respect their age and maturity level, yet explain that there is still some online content which is inappropriate for them. By explaining these practices to your child, and discussing what is acceptable online behaviour, you can help your child develop a happy and healthy onlin+e relationship.

Gradually allow your child control of their mobile devices: By gradually allowing your child more access to their mobile devices budget, you can teach them to manage their finances responsibly. If your child proves that they can purchase music and download apps legally and responsibly, you can continue to allow them more and more responsibility over their own devices.

Explain online rules and regulations: Explain in detail to your child what is legal online behaviour and what is not. By educating your child about illegal downloads, hacking, malware content and online gambling sites, as well as the consequences of their actions if they use these sites, then you can discourage them from pursuing these avenues in the future.