40 ways to keep your kids safe online

kids on tablet computers via Shutterstock

Pictures: Syda via Shutterstock


Our children are growing up online – on their computers, tablets and ever-present mobiles. At our #SecureKidsOnline Twitter chat, we talked about how to protect our children online and teach them smart practices that will serve them for years.

The chat was sponsored by F-Secure, a leading European cyber security company with decades of experiences defending enterprises and consumers against everything from opportunistic ransomware infections to advanced cyber-attacks.

At the #SecureKidsOnline Twitter chat, you shared lessons you teach your children, plus revealed smart strategies you can put to use. We were also joined by F-Secure expert Tom Gaffney, who answered questions about online security.

What are parents worried about?

1. Also concerned about how much personal information our son is sharing online @deanwilloughby

2. Particularly pop-up ads during online games. Worried little one will accidentally click one! @littleblondpea

3. When our grandchildren visit, how can we be sure they are only accessing safe sites? They love using the net! @libra10001

4. I worry about cyber bullying + WHO they are speaking to online as it is so easy to be someone they are not @Tantrums2Smiles

Security tips from F-Secure

5. If you’d like to try our SAFE software free for 3 month, go here
https://t.co/wyrQviCFIt @fsecureukteam

Q: I hate inappropriate pop-up adverts. Wondered if there was any way to block these. @FoxVillagefox
A: Use an adblocker. You can find ours here: https://t.co/LLEGGy58Qc https://t.co/CPFuaPZxqj @fsecureukteam

7. Check out Kodakchat for older kids who want to message friends. You can see who they are contacting but not the content @fsecureukteam

8. Use the parental controls on your security software. If you have a Windows machine, set up a separate account for them @fsecureukteam

Q: Should computer etc. always be in room with parents? Til what age? @kateonthinice
A: Try to keep the computer in the same room until 12yrs. After that, they’ll push the boundaries. Trust is vital then. https://t.co/EUCAtLh9f6 @fsecureukteam

Q: I’d like to know about the new kid’s youtube app. How do you rate it? @missielizzieb
A: It’s a good thing. Kids want to use YouTube, so if they’re going to, best they use the filtered version. @fsecureukteam

11. Don’t save card details to the browser and make sure phone accounts don’t have card details saved either @fsecureukteam

Strategies parents use

12. Love this idea for remembering online rules https://t.co/HXzIuwmBM2 @BritMums

13. On normal YouTube you can turn off the ability to view ‘adult’ videos too @ikkle87

14. Good tip on 1st line of defence on keeping kids safe online: talk to them https://t.co/HcBedDrXMH @BritMums

15. I am hoping that by teaching my son internet safety now he will be clued up when he is active online as a teenager @Tantrums2Smiles

16. Terrifying! He’s not allowed to talk to anyone online. Unless I’ve added their username (school friends only) @jhill1105

17. I always make sure I am in the room with my nephews when they are round mine using the net @greigo_uk

18. It is easy to protect computers. Create a Windows account with no rights to download @jrandrews72

19. No secrets rule. They can tell me anything without judgement and I will help. @MamaEdenandMe

20. I check in the evening now and then  just to make sure she is open but be naive – groomers are very good at it @Claireabella95

21. At the end of the day kids are kids and need to be supervised appropriately @MamaEdenandMe

22. On my phone he now has a dedicated folder of his apps & isn’t allowed to access anything else  @kateonthinice

Be vigilant about in-app purchases

23. Hearing several stories about kids using stored credit card details and running up in-app purchases. Scarily prevalent! @BritMums

24. My friend’s little boy did this as he thought he was using the coins he had found in the game not real money @Tantrums2Smiles

25. Most people I know have had some sort of “in-app” purchase or stored card horror story!! @Luckysammyg

26. Extra credits and “weapons”. He just kept buying them as credit card details were stored @caro_mad

27. They are very rare unfortunately. My friend’s son made in-game purchases worth £950 – no chance of a refund @caro_mad

28. It’s very often not made clear that in app purchases costs ‘real money’ not just ‘gold coins’ @emmahedges4

29. When I download a new game/app for my son I try to have a play first to check for errors/ dangerous pop-ups! @Tantrums2Smiles

30. Putting a password on your app stores with settings that it ALWAYS needs tio be used helps @VeeJay78

31. Good apps allow you to block in-game purchasing if you have little ones on your devices! @mrspixelwife

32. I’ve added gift cards to my daughter’s account instead of card details. It helps limit any damage @Savvybunny

Things you might not have thought of

33. Didn’t know anyone could join parties on Xbox so I turned those settings off too @jhill1105

34. My boy’s purchased items off Ebay before without me realising! Luckily was able to retract @LoopyLouVix

35. If you allow your kids to use your phone for games, sign out of eBay and other purchasing sites! @arepopsblog

36. If your children go to a childminders, ask for their policy on keeping online security. It’s important @josea66

37. They know I have passwords for their sites so if I want to check, I can. It’s good practice @kiwi7001

38. This is fantastic thank you. We all teach our children not to talk to strangers but not about online dangers @tobylerones

The last words

39. I saw a tip for teenagers I thought made sense… “If you wouldn’t do it face to face – don’t do it online” @amazelucy

40. Don’t feel pressured in to letting your child online if you don’t think they are ready/ mature enough! @Tantrums2Smiles

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