Are you wondering how to keep your children safe online? Are you worried about what they might get up to on the internet, or who they might be talking to? It’s natural to be concerned, but following these online safety tips for kids can help make sure that your children are safe when using the internet on a phone or computer.
Why is online safety important for your kids?
It’s very common for children to use the internet at home and at school. However, there are some dos and don'ts - here are some potential risks of the online world:
Cyberbullying – This is when children are bullied over the internet, e.g., on social media such as Facebook. Your child might or might not know the people who are bullying them, e.g., the bully could be a schoolmate or a complete stranger. This can have a hugely negative impact on your childs wellbeing.
Risk to personal details – Since the rise of social media, it has become more and more common for people to put their personal details online. However, if your children tell their personal details to anyone, this could be a safety risk. It could lead to identity theft, impersonation, or even your child being approached by people who know their name, address, and other information.
Viruses – Viruses are harmful computer programs. They can damage your PC, steal your personal information including debit card details, delete your data, or even make it so that the person who made the virus can fully control your computer.. A lot of viruses can be unknowingly downloaded by children, as viruses can look like games, apps, or other safe programs. It’s important to check any files that are downloaded.
Scams – There are a lot of scams on the internet that try to make people send money to the scammer. Often these scams will promise someone a reward for sending money, or they will claim to be from a large company or government office and they will threaten negative consequences if they do not receive the money. Of course, this is a lie, and they are just trying to coerce people into sending money. They could ask your children to send money directly, phone up a helpline to pay money, post money, or even buy gift cards. If your child gives any information to a scammer, this information will usually be sold to other scammers who will keep trying to get money from your child.
7 top tips to keep you safe online
It’s always worth having a talk with your children about online safety and making sure they understand how to stay safe online. Some of our top tips for online safety are:
1) Don’t share personal details
Sharing personal details online can be unsafe. Children should not share their full name, address, date of birth, or phone number with anyone online – especially people who they do not know in real life - because it’s extremely easy to abuse the data.
2) Download carefully
Some downloads contain viruses that can harm or monitor your PC to see passwords for online banking or other important services. You can easily find and install free antivirus software and teach your children to run an antivirus scan daily.
3) Use parental controls
Parental controls can help make sure that your child does not find inappropriate content online, usually by blocking certain types of websites or search terms. You can easily access parental controls on iPhones, iPads, Android devices, and controls from some internet service providers. You can learn a lot more about this in our dedicated blog section covering parental controls for many online services.
4) Be careful sending money
Many online scams try to get people to send money to a stranger online. A lot of these scams claim that the victim will get in trouble if they do not send money, but this is not the case. Teach your children to avoid sending money on the internet and to tell a trusted adult if someone asks for money, and use GoHenry’s parental controls listed below to help make sure that your child cannot send money to the wrong people.
5) Don’t let your child meet people in real life alone
If your child meets someone online, it can be dangerous to meet up in real life because the other person might not be who they claim to be. If your child wants to meet someone that they met online, it is always sensible to have someone chaperone them.
It’s not safe for your children to tell other people their passwords – even if they are best friends with the other person. Encourage your child to choose passwords that are difficult to guess, advise them to include a capital letter, number, and when possible, even a special character.
7) Talk to an adult if something bad happens
Sometimes, bad things happen online. Your child might see something upsetting, or someone they are talking to might say something confusing or mean. Remind your children that they can talk to a trusted adult and don’t be upset if your child prefers to talk to a teacher or school counsellor about it – sometimes children get embarrassed to admit what they’ve been doing online.
Learn more about GoHenry’s parental control features
We give you all the tools to nurture financially healthy kids, including parental controls. You’ll get real-time spending notifications whenever your child uses their card, and an alert if it's ever declined for total peace of mind. You can also decide where and how much kids can spend, and use your parent app to easily add or change the settings. For example, you can limit your child’s account to not allow online purchases if you are worried about them buying items from disreputable websites.
Our in-app Money Missions are also great for teaching your kids about money safety – your children can find out how to keep their money safe online, spot and avoid scams, and how insurance can help if something does happen.
Learn more about the GoHenry kids debit card today!