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How to keep your internet safe and secure for children
23/08/21
How to keep your internet safe and secure for children

Online schooling has become common practice during the pandemic. While it’s amazing that schools have adapted to video conferencing for lessons and are making use of online tools to share educational resources, it also brings about some safety concerns for parents. Children could easily access inappropriate content or harmful software, such as viruses and spyware, when navigating the web.

Using security devices, such as firewalls and comprehensive anti-malware, is the key to keeping your kids safe online. In addition, parents need to educate their children on the various threats of the internet and teach them how to protect themselves or to avoid these dangers. The internet is an incredible resource when used correctly, but certain precautions need to be taken.

The dangers of the internet to children

Internet connectivity seems to be ubiquitous – almost every gadget in the house can now connect to the web. This makes it difficult for parents to control what their kids access. There are various dangers on the internet, not just in terms of content, but also in terms of contact with bullies, scammers, hackers and predators.

Social media is intended to be fun and engaging, but many children suffer cyberbullying on these platforms. They can also inadvertently click on links that take them to websites with violent content, pirated materials or phishing software. Some websites use drive-by downloads to automatically install viruses and malicious software of a device, simply by visiting the URL.

However, one of the most common threats is inappropriate advertisements on certain websites. While these sites may have genuine content and purposes, some pop-up adverts are extremely inappropriate for children. This is where ad blockers and firewalls become important. These can be easily installed on devices or set up on the WiFi network.

How you can protect your kids online

Setting up these security features and devices does not require extensive technical knowledge. Most anti-viruses and firewalls come pre-installed on laptops and smartphones; they just need to be activated or switched on. Similarly, ad blockers can easily be downloaded on your internet browser. These are the simplest steps to take if you want to add a layer of protection to your kids’ internet browsing experience.

Access management is also important, which entails two basic forms:

  1. Parental control software – These give you the ability to manage the websites available and the amount of time that your child spends on the internet.
  2. Anti-malware software – These help you prevent viruses, spyware, ransomware, phishing software and various other malicious programmes from being downloaded to your kids’ devices.

These access management tools will create a secure online environment for your kids by automatically blocking certain websites or suspicious data. Playing around with advanced settings can also allow you to restrict messages on social media that contain certain phrases, which is highly effective in preventing cyberbullying.

Children need to know about responsibility

While you may set up firewalls and all the necessary software to improve internet security, you also need to educate your children about using the web responsibly. Give them independence and trust their abilities – most children are highly adept with digital technology, so don’t patronise them or shame them.

However, they do need to be aware of the following:

  • Don’t talk to strangers online.
  • Don’t give away personal information or details, even on website forms.
  • Block and report online bullies.
  • Don’t download unknown files or pirated content.
  • Don’t share certain information on social media.

Teach your kids to take action themselves and involve them in online decision-making. This sense of responsibility is often appreciated by children and rarely abused. Remember to keep open communications with your children and offer support should they need it. WonderNet is able to provide super-fast and reliable fibre internet access to homes in South Africa. For more information about our fibre offerings or to get a quote for an internet upgrade, please contact us today or check if we’re connected to your address.

WonderNet brings affordable broadband internet to South African homes. We work alongside leading fibre network providers to maximise our reach and to offer fast, reliable and secure internet connectivity to your home. We are owned by SEACOM; one of Africa’s top information and communications technology (ICT) companies with an expansive network of subsea cables, landlines and fibre connections. WonderNet strives to offer the best customer service in the country. We will go above and beyond to ensure that our customers are satisfied with their internet access.

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