Top practices for internet safety for kids
If you're on this page, it's probable that you are concerned for your kid's safety online. This is with good reason too. As you know, kids are particularly vulnerable to cyberbullying, cyberstalking, and worse. As parents, it can feel much more difficult to control what your child is doing on the internet versus watching them at the park. This is completely understandable and you are not alone. More than 80% of parents worry about their kid's safety online.
The good news is there are some practical steps you can take to protect them (and your computer!). You will need to set some clear boundaries with them about what you deem is appropriate for them to do online. Have an honest conversation with them and write down a simple and clear list of guidelines for them to follow. Obviously, it will depend on what age they are as to what parameters you set.
There are some technical tools you can use too, which we'll share with you now.
Use parental control tools available
These usually come in two forms: in-built services found in games, devices, or apps, and dedicated third-party tools. Using a variety of these will mean that you can do the following:
- Manage and limit how much on-screen time they have
- Block certain sites that you don't want them to visit
- Block site categories like streaming services
By taking matters into your own hands and filtering what they can and can't do, it takes the pressure off them (e.g. if they accidentally stumble across a site they shouldn't) and prevents you from feeling the urge to look over their shoulders every 10 seconds. Even if you do manage to successfully keep them off the sites you want, it's still possible for them to fall victim to malware. This can happen on just about any site.
Install a trusted antivirus brand
You need to use a respected antivirus on your kid's PC, whether you share it or not. All computers should use it, but it's particularly important when children are involved. They are far more likely to unwittingly click on a bright pop-up that looks suspicious to adults but fun to them. There is even malware that targets children in the disguise of their favorite cartoon characters. One came in the form of a fake Pokemon email that said "Pikachu is your friend". What child could resist clicking on this email even if it had tell-tale signs to us as adults?
Hackers are increasingly targeting children's gaming sites and the cuter the better. For this reason, you need to protect your child's computer with secure technology. It doesn't matter how many conversations you have with them about not clicking on pop-ups, if a bright, exciting character jumps onto their screen, you couldn't blame them for being curious and clicking.
You can get excellent free antivirus software from well-known companies such as Avast. Avast constantly searches for and detects threats on sites that have "game" or "arcade" in their title to help keep your children safe. It will only take you moments to install but could save you a giant headache in the future.
Use an ad blocker for ultimate security
There's another way that viruses and malware can appear on just about any site these days. That doesn't mean that every site has bad intentions, far from it. However, hackers are getting more advanced by the day and have come up with "malvertising" (malicious + advertising).
These ads look just like real ads only they will inject a virus or malicious program onto your computer if they are clicked on. The only way to prevent this is to remove the temptation in the first place. Plus, sometimes the malware is activated even if you don't click on them. For this reason, you should also install an ad blocker. This will also prevent your child from seeing any adult-focused ads online with perhaps scantily-clad people or other images that are not appropriate.
We have an ad blocker (called Adblock) that will sort this out in no time. You can adjust its settings to determine if you still see a few ads or none at all so it's super flexible. Having said that, when it comes to children we recommend using the strictest setting to block them all. Adblock comes as part of CCleaner Browser, which brings us to our next tip: use a safe browser.
Use a safe browser for privacy
CCleaner Browser, our secure browser and collection of built-in features will provide you with peace of mind. That's because it will not only keep your child safe from ads and the temptation of cartoon characters popping up (except on the sites you designate, of course), but improve their online privacy.
It does this in a number of ways:
- Webcam protection - will prevent apps and even malware from accessing their webcam unless you give them consent
- Anti-Phishing - will keep them even safer by blocking malicious websites and downloads infected with viruses
- Anti-Tracking - will stop third parties from tracking your child's online activity and from data being added to their digital identity by hiding their unique browsing profile
- Extension Guard - will block add-ons or plugins unless you choose to install them
If you like what you see here and are all for complete privacy, faster browsing, and total security, why not give it a go today and join our huge and happy community of CCleaner Browser users?
Before you go, we have a quick quiz question after all that information - which of the above measures should you put in place to improve your child's internet safety? Exactly, all of them. You can never be too safe online and the internet is definitely one instance where you want to be an over-protective parent.