Tech corner

How to keep your kids safe online this Christmas

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Do you know how to protect your children online?

Thousands of youngsters across Hull and East Yorkshire will be receiving tablets, laptops and smart phones as presents this Christmas.

But, as children become more computer literate and spend more time on the internet, are they as safe as they should be online?

KCOM has teamed up with online safety organisation Internet Matters to provide some helpful tips for parents on how to keep their kids safe this Christmas - as the wrapping paper comes off all those new gadgets.

Remember to turn on the parental controls

The easiest ways to protect your child online is to use parental controls. This can be done at several levels – on your home broadband settings, individual devices and the streaming services themselves.

There are parental controls that will prevent your children from visiting undesirable websites, stop them watching age-inappropriate films and TV shows and also prevent them from spending money accidentally by buying in-game purchases.

Here’s how to use you can use activate parental controls on your home broadband

Your KCOM home broadband settings allow you to set the right parental controls to suit your family.

KCOM’s parental controls have been developed with industry experts using a database of over 500 million websites. This is constantly being updated and categorised by a team of 200 people.

We have worked with leading parenting expert Elizabeth Hartley-Brewer to determine which categories are blocked and allowed for each age profile.

We think it should be your decision what is or isn’t allowed in your home, so our age profiles are only suggestions to make it easier for you to choose. Once you’ve switched them on, you can personalise your profile how you wish, so you can block and allow specific websites or the full website categories.

For more details about how this FREE service works click here.

 

Control your devices

Once you’ve set your home broadband parental controls, the next step is to set the controls on your individual devices – especially if it’s a new one bought as a Christmas present.

Apple iPhones allow you to restrict access to phone features like the web browser, camera and FaceTime. You can also add age restrictions to iTunes content, stop children accessing it altogether, stop them installing and deleting apps, and prevent in-app purchases.

The parental controls on Android phones and tablets are based around the Google Play Store, allowing you to set age restrictions for apps and games, movies, books music and TV shows that can be downloaded.

You can also set up a password for any purchases from the Google Play Store, so your child won’t buy anything accidentally. Search your gadget manufacturer’s website for more instructions on how to set up parental controls.

Control your streaming services

OK you’ve done your home broadband and your devices – now it’s time to set the parental controls on your streaming services.

Popular video-streaming service Netflix already has a ‘Kids’ section, but you can create an individual profile restricting shows and films your children can watch based on their age, choosing between: Little Kids, Older Kids, Teens and Adults. 

Most kids these days love YouTube – it’s often their destination of choice for content rather than traditional TV channels.

If you want to restrict what content your children have access to on YouTube then think about downloading the YouTube Kids app, which has been specifically created by Google for youngsters. It’s easy to use and has content split into four categories: Shows, Music, Learning and Explore.

The app includes a timer parents can use to limit the amount of time children can use the app and search can be turned on or off. The app is free to download and available for both Android and iOS devices. 

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