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Internet safety for your family

The internet is here to stay – and kids start as soon as their sticky little fingers can reach the keyboard! When they’re young you can monitor their screen use, but these days when children get a mobile phone before they reach their teens, it’s hard to keep track of their online activity.

How can you be sure they’re not getting into trouble? Looking at inappropriate content? Talking to predators?

This is where the Google Family Link kicks in. It’s an app that lets you agree on the parameters within which your child can operate and then monitors their smartphone or tablet. This means that you can:

  • Decide what apps your child can use and approve or block apps they want to download from the Google Play Store.
  • Keep track of how long they spend on their favourite apps.
  • Set a daily screen time limit for their devices – and set a ‘bedtime’ so they can’t keep themselves awake at night staring at the small screen under the covers!
  • You can even lock their device remotely, if that’s what it takes to get them to do their homework.
  • The app has built-in tracking, so you will be able to see their location and put your mind at rest if they’re out of the house.

Some children may see it as their parents ‘stalking’ them, but if you take the right approach and set it up with your children, rather than inflict it on them as a non-negotiable fait-accompli, then it’s a great opportunity to explore the world wide web together and teach them about the pros and cons.

It’s based on an Android device, although you can monitor from an iPhone. Find out more about the app here.

The app has been launched in tandem with Google’s Internet Legend and Internet Citizen programmes.

The Internet Legend programme helps 7-11 year olds to be safe and confident online. It provides free training resources to more than 19.000 UK teachers with five great core pillars:

  1. Be internet sharp – think before you share
  2. Be internet alert – check it’s for real
  3. Be internet secure – protect your stuff
  4. Be internet kind – respect each other
  5. Be internet brave – when in doubt, discuss

There’s a great online game, Interland, that teaches kids to be safe from cyber-bullies, avoid hackers and phishers and make good decisions about their online activity.

The Internet Citizen programme is aimed at 13-15 year olds and gives them the opportunity to learn more sophisticated internet skills so they can create appropriate online content, make a social impact and be part of a community.

Tools and programmes like this will keep your kids safe and give you peace of mind.