6 Tips for Keeping Grand-kids Safe Online
Being a grandparent is a gift, you get all the good of being a parent without any of the grief. It is important though that you protect your grandkids when they are in your care, and you might have noticed that more and more children are using tablets, computers, and smartphones. Even from a young age, they have grasped how to use technology amazingly well, maybe even better than you do. But you are, however, still responsible for their safety while they are online, just like you are when you help them cross the road. The online environment has risks but you can manage those risks by following these few guidelines.
1. Discuss Screen time
How much time are they allowed on the internet? Check with their parents and make sure their rules are also followed when they are at your house or when you are looking after them. Make it clear that they are only allowed to go on the internet with your say so. We set out a list of helpful tips here for managing screen time here: webwise.ie/parents/screen-time-advice-for-parents/
2. Use Parental Controls
You can turn on parental controls on mobile phones, tablets, and computers. If you aren’t sure how to ask a friend or family member to add turn on these built-in controls. Parental controls help filter content that may be inappropriate for children. It can also take off shopping and chat features when turned on and can be used to limit the number of time kids has online. We have made a list of them here: https://www.webwise.ie/parents/parental-controls-2/.
3. Disable In-App Purchases
Handing over your tablet/phone to your grandchild to play a game may seem harmless but many games and apps have in-app purchases. Kids might accidentally buy more lives for their game or advance to a new level without knowing they are charging your credit card in the process. You may not have this function on your device, but you can check your settings and switch ‘in-app purchases’ off just to be on the safe side. You can go to Youtube and watch a step-by-step tutorial on how to do this on your device
4. Activate Safe Search
A Safe Search means that when you use a search engine (like Google or Yahoo), you are making sure that the results are suitable for children. It is very easy to do but ask a friend or family member to do this for you if you aren’t sure. See our post on activating Google Safe Search: https://www.webwise.ie/parents/how-to-google-safesearch-for-parents-and-teachers/.
5. Agree On what to Do when Things Go Wrong
If your grandchild sees something or is bothered by something on the internet, make sure they know that they can come and talk to you. This is a really nice short video that you could show your grandkids to help demonstrate what they need to do when they come across something that is bothering them.
6. Play it Safe
Your grandchildren may have a favourite show that they want to watch on YouTube or a particular game they would like to play. Ask their parent or guardian to download these for you in advance instead of allowing your grandchild to do so. YouTube Kids is more appropriate for young users. Most games nowadays have a PEGI rating beside them, just make sure that it is suitable for your grandchild before allowing them to play it.
Remember: Always ask for help if you are unsure and make sure you have a conversation about online safety with your grandkids parent or guardian.