Did you know you can use your iPad to potty-train your kids? Numerous potty training apps exist, with a potty-attachable stand available to prop the iPad in front of your toddler.
While it’s unusual, it almost makes sense: kids are using tablets and phones as soon as they’re old enough to hold them. Put a magazine in your child’s hand and they’ll try and swipe right instead of turning the page.
Whether your kids use your iPad to watch The Octonauts or are fully-fledged digital natives, the internet is a very big place. Parents worry about what their kids are getting up to online, so today we’ve got seven great tips to help you keep your kids safe.
1. Help your kids graduate from the Webonauts Internet Academy with a degree in netiquette
Netiquette is the etiquette of getting the most out of using the net. While that sounds very serious, the interactive story-game Webonauts Internet Academy teaches kids about internet safety and how to behave online—all while they’re completing missions and having loads of fun.
2. Install parental filters or monitoring software
Most computers let you add parental controls to the user accounts, so you can set up time limits, site restrictions, and block any content you don’t want your kids seeing. While parental filters won’t go down well with older kids, they’re essential for keeping younger kids from straying away from appropriate content.
Setting up parental controls is easy with our quick guide. Here are the steps you need to take:
First things first, you’ll need a user account on your computer for your kids. Check out Microsoft’s guide to setting up user accounts.
· Once you’ve got that done, you’ll log in to your own account and click on Control Panel.
· Click on Family Safety.
· Log in to the family safety section with the password you use to log in to your user account. Click ‘View activity reports’ on the user you want to set up filters on. From here you can add filters or block specific websites.
· To set up parental controls on a Mac, go to Apple > System Preferences.
· Click on Users & Groups.
· You can customise the sites your kids have access to, as well as limiting the time they spend online and the apps they use.
3. Have a conversation about online safety
If you try to have a conversation with your teenager about online safety they’ll probably roll their eyes at you and tell you how embarrassing you are. But it’s still worth having the conversation so they know they can come to you if anything does happen.
We’ve all heard horror stories where teenagers or young adults meet strangers from the internet in real life, or where house parties get out of control. If you set a standard where your child can talk to you about online safety right from the start, they’ll be less likely to do anything silly.
4. Teach them about smart socialising
Social media is designed to be accessible; all you need is an email address and you’re ready to go. It may not have even crossed your kid’s mind that someone might use their info or pictures against them, but it happens.
An American girl took a misguided selfie at Auschwitz and it went hugely viral, with strangers sending her hate from all over the world.
Like Spiderman himself said: with great power comes great responsibility. Responsibilities include:
· Thinking before hitting send. Ask them to consider what might happen if the selfie was shared between groups of friends or went viral.
· Being safe if they meet someone from the internet in real life. Ask that they meet them in a public place and bring a friend along.
· No broadcasting parties or holidays. It’s every parent’s worst nightmare: you and your partner are on a well-deserved weekend away and you get a phone call from your stressed-out child. They announced a party on Facebook and now your house is being swarmed by random teenagers. Nightmare!
Our kids are spending hours online playing games like Call of Duty, Minecraft, and FIFA, building communities, shooting things, or staging brave rescue missions.
As with all online activity, it’s up to you to teach them about being safe. So teach them:
· Not to tell other players their name or where they live.
· If someone is being abusive it’s okay to mute them.
· If they’re losing, encourage them to keep their temper. That means no hitting the controller off the wall or shouting at other players. If you need to, step in and send them outside to play and cool off.
For younger kids you’ll need to:
• Check in with them and see what they’re getting up to every half hour or so.
• Vet any games before they play them.
6. Remember your kids are just as connected while on their phones
The iPad potty accessory is the perfect example of how savvy young kids are. But using something and understanding it are very different things! While your child might know the basics of using a phone, they probably don’t know how to keep themselves safe. You can:
• Install an antivirus app on your kid’s phone to keep it free of viruses.
• Get your kids to turn off geo-tagging. You don’t want everyone on social media knowing that your family is off on holidays for two weeks—that’s essentially an advertisement for savvy thieves.
• Set up locate-and-wipe. Apple’s iCloud Find my Phone and Google’s Android Device Manager are brilliant if a phone goes missing. They’ll help you find a phone if it’s missing or wipe all its data if it was stolen.
7. Stay up-to-date with social media trends
While you don’t need to be able to tell Yik Yak from Pheed, it’s handy to know your way around the big four: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Snapchat. Make a couple of social media accounts and get to grips with the basics. If you get how these sites work you’ll have a better understanding of how your kids might use them.