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Back to school: cyber security tips for parents

By Ann Prinsloo

If you’re a parent or carer getting children back to school, it’s essential to recognise the role of technology in education and the potential risks it may pose to young users. Parental control apps can be valuable tools to help parents manage and monitor their children’s online activities. Here’s what parents should know about parental control apps:

🚩Understanding the Risks:

Be aware of potential risks associated with online activities, including cyberbullying, inappropriate content, and excessive screen time. Understanding these risks is crucial for implementing adequate parental controls.

👐Open Communication:

Maintain open and honest communication with your children about the importance of responsible Internet use. Discuss the potential risks and establish guidelines for online behaviour.

🙋Selecting the Right App:

There are various parental control apps available, each with its own set of features. Choose an app that aligns with your specific needs and preferences. Most Primary schools use Apple iPads, which have family control applications. In contrast, high schools use Microsoft or Apple devices, and again Microsoft Family Safety app is available to help manage devices and access. Some other popular options include Qustodio, Norton Family, and Family Link by Google.

👀Features to Look For:

Look for features such as content filtering, time management, app blocking, and location tracking. These features can help you regulate your child’s online activities and ensure a safer digital environment.

🔞Age-Appropriate Controls:

Adjust the level of control based on your child’s age and maturity. Younger children may require stricter controls, while older children may benefit from increased responsibility and independence.

⏲️Balance Screen Time:

Parental control apps often include features that allow you to set daily or weekly screen time limits. Encourage a healthy balance between online and offline activities to promote overall well-being.

📚Educate Yourself:

Stay informed about the latest online platforms, apps, and trends. This knowledge will help you make informed decisions about which content and apps are suitable for your child.

📴Regular Monitoring:

Periodically review your child’s online activities and the reports generated by the parental control app. This will help you stay informed about their digital behaviour and address any concerns promptly.

🔏Respect Privacy:

While it’s essential to monitor online activities, respect your child’s privacy. Establish clear guidelines on what is considered private and communicate the purpose of the parental control app as a tool for their safety.

⚖️Adjust as Needed:

As your child grows and matures, be prepared to adjust the settings of the parental control app accordingly. Regularly reassess the level of control needed to ensure that it remains age-appropriate.

Remember that parental control apps should be part of a broader strategy that includes open communication, education, and fostering a healthy digital environment at home. While these apps can provide additional support, they are not a substitute for active parental involvement and guidance.

The eSafety commissioner has some great advice click here to view the video.

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