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Category: Online Safety for Kids

How to Protect Minors in the Internet Age

Safe Kids Online

In the last few years the way we communicate with our loved ones has changed, also how we spend our leisure time. Social networks such as Facebook or Instagram and platforms like YouTube are the big influencers in this new world in which we live in.

Today, many of us spend so many hours in front of screens, whether the reason is watching kitten videos or chatting with our colleagues at work or in class.

These changes in our way of living have not only occurred in adults, but also in many children.  Kids are now spending hours in front of their smartphones or tablets.

However, this sudden change in our society has created a security breach that affects all of us, and minors are not excluded. That’s why parents and guardians must rethink how they are protected, adapting to an ever-evolving technological society.

Therefore, in this article we offer some advice on how to protect minors in the internet era:

  1. Set time limits they are allowed to use their devices.
  2. Check what your children are using their devices for and block unwanted and unsafe websites.
  3. Educate them to use technology in a responsible way and respecting other users on the internet. As it happens in real life, respect for others is key on the internet and for their education.
  4. Make them understand that they should not add or talk to strangers or people they don’t know in real life.
  5. Instruct them not to share any personal information with anyone online. Protecting your privacy is key to all of us, including minors. It is vital teach them that everything they share on the internet will be always there.
  6. Keep an eye on what they post or share on their social networks. Being aware of what they write or talk about on social media is essential to knowing more about them and avoiding future problems
  7. Use safe search websites that block unsuitable content. Safe boundaries allow kids to thrive as they explore the wealth of information on the internet without the usual dangers.
  8. Control the app installations in their devices. There are different app markets which contain huge amounts of apps from different categories. Avoid the download of inappropriate apps based on their content.
  9. Set a daily schedule in which they can use their devices and block their use during the night or in school. The use of devices in class can affect and reduce their school performance, so it’s advisable to block or limit use during school hours.
  10. Use the services of a good parental control program which offers all the features you may need for the protection of your kids.
  11. And last but the most important of all, let them know that they can always count on you for help and support when they might feel in danger.

The security and protection needs for our kids are always changing.  It’s difficult for parents to keep up with new trends in technology, but has never been more important for safety and development.

In the last few years the way we communicate with our loved ones has changed, also how we spend our leisure time. Social networks such as Facebook or Instagram and platforms like YouTube are the big influencers in this new world in which we live in.

Today, many of us spend so many hours in front of screens, whether the reason is watching kitten videos or chatting with our colleagues at work or in class.

These changes in our way of living have not only occurred in adults, but also in many children.  Kids are now spending hours in front of their smartphones or tablets.

However, this sudden change in our society has created a security breach that affects all of us, and minors are not excluded. That’s why parents and guardians must rethink how they are protected, adapting to an ever-evolving technological society.

Therefore, in this article we offer some advice on how to protect minors in the internet era:

  1. Set time limits they are allowed to use their devices.
  2. Check what your children are using their devices for and block unwanted and unsafe websites.
  3. Educate them to use technology in a responsible way and respecting other users on the internet. As it happens in real life, respect for others is key on the internet and for their education.
  4. Make them understand that they should not add or talk to strangers or people they don’t know in real life.
  5. Instruct them not to share any personal information with anyone online. Protecting your privacy is key to all of us, including minors. It is vital teach them that everything they share on the internet will be always there.
  6. Keep an eye on what they post or share on their social networks. Being aware of what they write or talk about on social media is essential to knowing more about them and avoiding future problems
  7. Use safe search websites that block unsuitable content. Safe boundaries allow kids to thrive as they explore the wealth of information on the internet without the usual dangers.
  8. Control the app installations in their devices. There are different app markets which contain huge amounts of apps from different categories. Avoid the download of inappropriate apps based on their content.
  9. Set a daily schedule in which they can use their devices and block their use during the night or in school. The use of devices in class can affect and reduce their school performance, so it’s advisable to block or limit use during school hours.
  10. Use the services of a good parental control program which offers all the features you may need for the protection of your kids.
  11. And last but the most important of all, let them know that they can always count on you for help and support when they might feel in danger.

The security and protection needs for our kids are always changing.  It’s difficult for parents to keep up with new trends in technology, but has never been more important for safety and development.

Internet Safety Checklist for Preschoolers

online safety for children

Here’s What Parents Should Teach Their Little Ones… Almost a decade ago, parents and caregivers didn’t have to worry about teaching their preschool aged children’s online safety. It’s the opposite today. Children are now being raised in the digital age.

Today, kids grow up learning how to use technology just like learning how to speak or walk. In fact, if technology isn’t a part of their lives, they would be unusual in society.

Touchscreen technologies have made the internet far more accessible than it used to be. It’s quicker and easier to use on a tablet or an iPad since you don’t need a mouse and a keyboard to navigate.

Some online safety risks for preschoolers

Not all parents believe there is a need to navigate and control how their 4 to 5 years old kids use the internet. Because what can go wrong. They are not using social media and they are barely spelling anything right.

It’s true, preschoolers don’t usually get exposed to as many risks as older children since they are usually using the internet under the supervision of an adult. However, that doesn’t mean parents can excuse themselves from taking certain practical internet safety precautions. Even if your preschooler goes online to play games or watch videos, they are still at the risk of accessing inappropriate content.

Raising Children Au says, there are three kinds of internet safety risk for preschoolers – content, contact and conduct.

  1. Content: This includes the content that children might find upsetting, uncomfortable, or disgusting. Examples are images of animal cruelty, violence, pornography or videos that are meant for older children.
  2. Contact: Children might come in contact with people they don’t know. For instance, they might end up on a communication app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp and send some personal photo or video to one of your contacts or even a stranger (on Facebook).
  3. Conduct: This risk includes children acting in a way that might hurt others. For instance, they might end up deleting some important file or accidently make in-app purchases.

Children know more than we think!

If you think your preschooler isn’t smart enough to understand what the internet is, read the results of this study where 70, four-year-old children were asked what they know about the internet. 40 percent of the children in the study were able to describe what the internet is. Their understanding of the internet was associated with the experiences of going online and using technology with their family. They defined the internet as something they use to play games; something that mommy uses for work or big sister uses for sending emails and more.

Internet safety checklist to follow

Before children make up their own meaning about the internet, why not tell them what the internet is? Experts say you can start by teaching them that the internet is a net of technology we used to “talk” to each other. Once they understand that then we can move towards teaching them how to protect themselves online.

Here is a checklist that can help parents teach their little ones about internet safety:

  • Explore the internet together: Start by exploring the internet together with your children. They will learn when you are exploring with them. Show them interesting websites, ask them to show you how to play their favorite game, or you can even simply talk about the video they were watching.
  • Be involved: Encourage your children to use devices in the lounge or the kitchen. This will let you keep a close eye on how they are using the internet and what they are watching. Don’t forget to be involved in their enjoyment.
  • Use passwords: You must know when your child is accessing the internet and a smart way to do that is to set passwords on all internet-enabled devices. Make sure these devices are out of your child’s reach. They will have to go through the process of asking permission to access the device and making you put the password so that they can play a game or listen to nursery rhymes. P.S. Don’t share passwords with them.
  • Activate safe search settings: Your toddler will probably use Google and YouTube to do their thing on the internet. Enable safe search settings on both of them. This allows you to apply restrictions on inappropriate search results.
  • Select the right content: Help them choose safe, educational, and fun games or videos. Research games or shows that would be appropriate for your child. You must be confident about the content your child is watching because they will be learning a lot from it.
  • Teach them good and bad: It’s totally okay to talk to your child about good and bad content on the internet. Encourage them to come to you if they see something scary or upsetting. Here is how you can start the conversation: “Some videos on the internet can be scary. Tell mommy/daddy if you see something that scary or makes you unhappy.”

Put yourself in control

Don’t be afraid to use parental controls. There are plenty of child monitoring apps that allow you to set parental controls to manage and control what content your child sees online.

Lots of parents take refuge in vendors such as Xnspy; a monitoring app for children. It’s being used for monitoring and supervising online behavior of preschoolers and older kids alike. In short, it puts you in control of the online activities of your child and ensure their safety. This is how you can use the features of Xnspy for the online protection of your little ones:

  • Manage Web Browsing: Usually, kids directly go to YouTube or the game that’s installed on their tablet. But some are smart enough to browse through Google, too. Xnspy allows you to check the web browsing history of your child’s tablet from a remote location. This feature is also useful if your child is with the nanny and you are just curious about what they are making your child watch.
  • Set boundaries: It is never too early to set boundaries on how much internet or screen time your child gets access to. Xnspy allows you to set rules regarding how much time your child spends online. You can set screen-time limitations by locking their digital devices altogether. Practice this when it’s time to eat so that they develop the habit of eating without a screen in front of them or when it’s bedtime so they could sleep without any distraction.
  • Block Apps: If your children share a tablet or phone, the apps that your older kid uses may not be appropriate for your toddler. Xnspy has the solution for that, too. You can block the apps that you find inappropriate for one or both kids and let them spend the right amount of time on the internet, worry-free!

Monitoring apps as the likes of Xnspy are great for working parents who leave their kids and their tablets with babysitters and don’t know how much time they are spending online or what they are doing online.

Other things to teach

You mustn’t forget to teach your child how to protect themselves one. Tell them to:

  • Seek help whenever they see a pop-up in the middle of a game or video
  • Be near an adult whenever they are using a device
  • Only click on the tabs or apps your parent or babysitter has set up for you
  • Don’t share personal information (like photos or videos) with anyone

Do doubt the internet is a large part of the daily lives of many young ones. They don’t just watch their favorite YouTube clips and play games online but also talk to long-distance relatives over video conferencing. It makes sense to set boundaries for them and teach the how to stay safe online from a young age.

Here’s What Parents Should Teach Their Little Ones… Almost a decade ago, parents and caregivers didn’t have to worry about teaching their preschool aged children’s online safety. It’s the opposite today. Children are now being raised in the digital age.

Today, kids grow up learning how to use technology just like learning how to speak or walk. In fact, if technology isn’t a part of their lives, they would be unusual in society.

Touchscreen technologies have made the internet far more accessible than it used to be. It’s quicker and easier to use on a tablet or an iPad since you don’t need a mouse and a keyboard to navigate.

Some online safety risks for preschoolers

Not all parents believe there is a need to navigate and control how their 4 to 5 years old kids use the internet. Because what can go wrong. They are not using social media and they are barely spelling anything right.

It’s true, preschoolers don’t usually get exposed to as many risks as older children since they are usually using the internet under the supervision of an adult. However, that doesn’t mean parents can excuse themselves from taking certain practical internet safety precautions. Even if your preschooler goes online to play games or watch videos, they are still at the risk of accessing inappropriate content.

Raising Children Au says, there are three kinds of internet safety risk for preschoolers – content, contact and conduct.

  1. Content: This includes the content that children might find upsetting, uncomfortable, or disgusting. Examples are images of animal cruelty, violence, pornography or videos that are meant for older children.
  2. Contact: Children might come in contact with people they don’t know. For instance, they might end up on a communication app like Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp and send some personal photo or video to one of your contacts or even a stranger (on Facebook).
  3. Conduct: This risk includes children acting in a way that might hurt others. For instance, they might end up deleting some important file or accidently make in-app purchases.

Children know more than we think!

If you think your preschooler isn’t smart enough to understand what the internet is, read the results of this study where 70, four-year-old children were asked what they know about the internet. 40 percent of the children in the study were able to describe what the internet is. Their understanding of the internet was associated with the experiences of going online and using technology with their family. They defined the internet as something they use to play games; something that mommy uses for work or big sister uses for sending emails and more.

Internet safety checklist to follow

Before children make up their own meaning about the internet, why not tell them what the internet is? Experts say you can start by teaching them that the internet is a net of technology we used to “talk” to each other. Once they understand that then we can move towards teaching them how to protect themselves online.

Here is a checklist that can help parents teach their little ones about internet safety:

  • Explore the internet together: Start by exploring the internet together with your children. They will learn when you are exploring with them. Show them interesting websites, ask them to show you how to play their favorite game, or you can even simply talk about the video they were watching.
  • Be involved: Encourage your children to use devices in the lounge or the kitchen. This will let you keep a close eye on how they are using the internet and what they are watching. Don’t forget to be involved in their enjoyment.
  • Use passwords: You must know when your child is accessing the internet and a smart way to do that is to set passwords on all internet-enabled devices. Make sure these devices are out of your child’s reach. They will have to go through the process of asking permission to access the device and making you put the password so that they can play a game or listen to nursery rhymes. P.S. Don’t share passwords with them.
  • Activate safe search settings: Your toddler will probably use Google and YouTube to do their thing on the internet. Enable safe search settings on both of them. This allows you to apply restrictions on inappropriate search results.
  • Select the right content: Help them choose safe, educational, and fun games or videos. Research games or shows that would be appropriate for your child. You must be confident about the content your child is watching because they will be learning a lot from it.
  • Teach them good and bad: It’s totally okay to talk to your child about good and bad content on the internet. Encourage them to come to you if they see something scary or upsetting. Here is how you can start the conversation: “Some videos on the internet can be scary. Tell mommy/daddy if you see something that scary or makes you unhappy.”

Put yourself in control

Don’t be afraid to use parental controls. There are plenty of child monitoring apps that allow you to set parental controls to manage and control what content your child sees online.

Lots of parents take refuge in vendors such as Xnspy; a monitoring app for children. It’s being used for monitoring and supervising online behavior of preschoolers and older kids alike. In short, it puts you in control of the online activities of your child and ensure their safety. This is how you can use the features of Xnspy for the online protection of your little ones:

  • Manage Web Browsing: Usually, kids directly go to YouTube or the game that’s installed on their tablet. But some are smart enough to browse through Google, too. Xnspy allows you to check the web browsing history of your child’s tablet from a remote location. This feature is also useful if your child is with the nanny and you are just curious about what they are making your child watch.
  • Set boundaries: It is never too early to set boundaries on how much internet or screen time your child gets access to. Xnspy allows you to set rules regarding how much time your child spends online. You can set screen-time limitations by locking their digital devices altogether. Practice this when it’s time to eat so that they develop the habit of eating without a screen in front of them or when it’s bedtime so they could sleep without any distraction.
  • Block Apps: If your children share a tablet or phone, the apps that your older kid uses may not be appropriate for your toddler. Xnspy has the solution for that, too. You can block the apps that you find inappropriate for one or both kids and let them spend the right amount of time on the internet, worry-free!

Monitoring apps as the likes of Xnspy are great for working parents who leave their kids and their tablets with babysitters and don’t know how much time they are spending online or what they are doing online.

Other things to teach

You mustn’t forget to teach your child how to protect themselves one. Tell them to:

  • Seek help whenever they see a pop-up in the middle of a game or video
  • Be near an adult whenever they are using a device
  • Only click on the tabs or apps your parent or babysitter has set up for you
  • Don’t share personal information (like photos or videos) with anyone

Do doubt the internet is a large part of the daily lives of many young ones. They don’t just watch their favorite YouTube clips and play games online but also talk to long-distance relatives over video conferencing. It makes sense to set boundaries for them and teach the how to stay safe online from a young age.

Zombies Invade the World

Yes! There is a worldwide outbreak—of zombies. Germans calls these shuffling, bent creatures “Smombies,” a word made by joining two words: zombie and smartphones. Smombies are the people you see walking around with their eyes on their smartphones and not on the road ahead.

Each year, hordes of people are hurt by bumping into objects, falling into pools and getting hit by bikes and vehicles.

Innocent drivers who can’t avoid these zombies suffer from the trauma of hurting others. Older and disabled people walking down the street don’t move fast enough to avoid zombies and are commonly bumped and injured.

And this isn’t just taking place in your neighborhood. Zombies are a problem around the world.

In Seoul, South Korea, the city’s transportation department put up signs that show people using smartphones walking into cars. The signs are meant to remind people how dangerous walking can be when they don’t pay attention. The problem is that people must look up from their smartphones to see the signs.

Germany officials put bright strips of LED lights right in the sidewalk. This was done to keep people from walking into city trains. These lights have also been used in sidewalks in the Netherlands. Many people don’t like this idea, because it makes zombies feel that they don’t have to pay attention to the world around them.

In Austria, officials put airbags around lampposts to keep zombie tourists from smashing into them as they walk through the streets looking at their phones.

The city of Chongqing in southwest China has tried to solve this problem by making two walking lanes. One is for people who are not using smartphones as they walk. The other is for people walking with their heads down.

Honolulu, Hawaii, has passed a law making it illegal to enter a crosswalk while you are looking at your smartphone. People who step out into traffic with their eyes on their phone face huge fines.

Because of all the traffic accidents caused by zombies with their phones, Brazil has older ladies helping young smartphone addicts cross the street safely.

All around the world, zombies—or smombies, if you prefer–put themselves and other people in danger. You can help stop the invasion. Remember this: a smartphone weighs about 4 ounces. A car can weigh about 80,000 ounces. When they hit each other, who do you think will win?

Now, look up.

Yes! There is a worldwide outbreak—of zombies. Germans calls these shuffling, bent creatures “Smombies,” a word made by joining two words: zombie and smartphones. Smombies are the people you see walking around with their eyes on their smartphones and not on the road ahead.

Each year, hordes of people are hurt by bumping into objects, falling into pools and getting hit by bikes and vehicles.

Innocent drivers who can’t avoid these zombies suffer from the trauma of hurting others. Older and disabled people walking down the street don’t move fast enough to avoid zombies and are commonly bumped and injured.

And this isn’t just taking place in your neighborhood. Zombies are a problem around the world.

In Seoul, South Korea, the city’s transportation department put up signs that show people using smartphones walking into cars. The signs are meant to remind people how dangerous walking can be when they don’t pay attention. The problem is that people must look up from their smartphones to see the signs.

Germany officials put bright strips of LED lights right in the sidewalk. This was done to keep people from walking into city trains. These lights have also been used in sidewalks in the Netherlands. Many people don’t like this idea, because it makes zombies feel that they don’t have to pay attention to the world around them.

In Austria, officials put airbags around lampposts to keep zombie tourists from smashing into them as they walk through the streets looking at their phones.

The city of Chongqing in southwest China has tried to solve this problem by making two walking lanes. One is for people who are not using smartphones as they walk. The other is for people walking with their heads down.

Honolulu, Hawaii, has passed a law making it illegal to enter a crosswalk while you are looking at your smartphone. People who step out into traffic with their eyes on their phone face huge fines.

Because of all the traffic accidents caused by zombies with their phones, Brazil has older ladies helping young smartphone addicts cross the street safely.

All around the world, zombies—or smombies, if you prefer–put themselves and other people in danger. You can help stop the invasion. Remember this: a smartphone weighs about 4 ounces. A car can weigh about 80,000 ounces. When they hit each other, who do you think will win?

Now, look up.

How to Keep a Closer Eye on Your Kids’ Gaming Activity

Tracking Kids Gaming Activity Online

Contrary to what parents might have thought 30 years ago, video games do not rot the brain — in fact, there are numerous studies showing a link between critical thinking, as well as hand-eye coordination, and video games.

But even with these benefits, the last thing you want is for your child to spend all their time cooped up indoors playing Fortnite. Who knows what they might be purchasing, or worse, who they might be talking to.

Here are ways you can keep a closer eye on your kids’ gaming activity.

Consider a keylogger to monitor their conversations.

It can be hard to know what your kids are talking about and who they are talking to, but a keystroke logger will tell you every single button press your kids make. Just keep in mind that using this for gaming can be confusing, as it will make a log of every keystroke—including your kids using W, S, A, and D to move within the game. You’ll have to navigate through the logs to find when your kids have a conversation with another player in-game.

Use a program like RescueTime or other built-in tools to track how your kids spend time on the computer.

If you aren’t sure how much time your kids spend on the computer—or you suspect they play games when they’re not supposed to—you can use a program that monitors their activity and reports back to you. Some of these programs will allow you to lock certain activities if they extend beyond a certain time period.

If your kids play on console more than computer, never fear. The PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch all have optional parental controls that can be used to limit the amount of time someone spends playing video games on a day-to-day basis. Just make sure your kids don’t learn how to bypass those controls.

Use parental controls to block purchases and transactions.

With so many micro transactions available in games today, it can be hard to stop kids from spending money both deliberately and accidentally. After all, it only takes a few clicks to buy the “Battlepass” on Fortnite, at a cost of $9.99. The same parental controls you use to restrict playtime can also be used to restrict purchases.

If you enable these settings, your kids will not be able to spend any money in the game. No need to worry about becoming one of the parents on the evening news whose kid spends $800 on new skins.

Video games are a fun pastime, and they may even help boost some fine-motor skills. They also allow your kids to socialize with friends without leaving the house. But like everything else, they should be played in moderation. Use these tools to keep an eye on what your kids are up to. You can keep them safe (and protect your wallet) without intruding on them in any noticeable way. They’ll appreciate the illusion of independence while they play games with their friends, and you can rest easy knowing they’re safe on the internet.

Patrick is an Atlanta-based tech writer for Xfinity. When he’s not writing, he can be found spending his time with the latest videogame or chasing down the most recent challenges in Fortnite.

Contrary to what parents might have thought 30 years ago, video games do not rot the brain — in fact, there are numerous studies showing a link between critical thinking, as well as hand-eye coordination, and video games.

But even with these benefits, the last thing you want is for your child to spend all their time cooped up indoors playing Fortnite. Who knows what they might be purchasing, or worse, who they might be talking to.

Here are ways you can keep a closer eye on your kids’ gaming activity.

Consider a keylogger to monitor their conversations.

It can be hard to know what your kids are talking about and who they are talking to, but a keystroke logger will tell you every single button press your kids make. Just keep in mind that using this for gaming can be confusing, as it will make a log of every keystroke—including your kids using W, S, A, and D to move within the game. You’ll have to navigate through the logs to find when your kids have a conversation with another player in-game.

Use a program like RescueTime or other built-in tools to track how your kids spend time on the computer.

If you aren’t sure how much time your kids spend on the computer—or you suspect they play games when they’re not supposed to—you can use a program that monitors their activity and reports back to you. Some of these programs will allow you to lock certain activities if they extend beyond a certain time period.

If your kids play on console more than computer, never fear. The PlayStation 4, Xbox One, and Nintendo Switch all have optional parental controls that can be used to limit the amount of time someone spends playing video games on a day-to-day basis. Just make sure your kids don’t learn how to bypass those controls.

Use parental controls to block purchases and transactions.

With so many micro transactions available in games today, it can be hard to stop kids from spending money both deliberately and accidentally. After all, it only takes a few clicks to buy the “Battlepass” on Fortnite, at a cost of $9.99. The same parental controls you use to restrict playtime can also be used to restrict purchases.

If you enable these settings, your kids will not be able to spend any money in the game. No need to worry about becoming one of the parents on the evening news whose kid spends $800 on new skins.

Video games are a fun pastime, and they may even help boost some fine-motor skills. They also allow your kids to socialize with friends without leaving the house. But like everything else, they should be played in moderation. Use these tools to keep an eye on what your kids are up to. You can keep them safe (and protect your wallet) without intruding on them in any noticeable way. They’ll appreciate the illusion of independence while they play games with their friends, and you can rest easy knowing they’re safe on the internet.

Patrick is an Atlanta-based tech writer for Xfinity. When he’s not writing, he can be found spending his time with the latest videogame or chasing down the most recent challenges in Fortnite.