How to make your family Internet safe these holidays
By Brendan Malone
We are now only two weeks away from the start of the Christmas school holidays.
That means that our children are going to be spending a lot more time at home over the coming two months, and, if we have computers, tablets or smartphones around the house, there's a pretty good chance they'll be spending more time than usual on those devices as well.
Which is why this is the ideal time to start thinking about what sort of measures you have in place to protect your family from problematic Internet content over the fast approaching Christmas school holiday period.
At a recent presentation I gave to a group of parents about pornography-proofing in the home, one of the parents was very surprised to discover just how easy and innocuous it was for even very young children to unintentionally stumble across or be exposed to pornography and other problematic content online.
This parent had assumed that pornography-proofing was only necessary for older high school aged children who might go actively looking for that sort of content because of encouragement or pressure from peers.
I told the audience about an experience I had several years ago where my then pre-school aged daughter had figured out the passcode to my iPad just by watching me use it, and had subsequently accessed it in order to search for YouTube videos without really understanding where her taping and swiping in the YouTube app was actually leading her.
It was certainly a sobering wake-up call for us about how easily and innocently these things can happen, even with very young children.
So, with that in mind, here are three important things that you can do before the end of term if you want to make your family Internet safe for the Christmas holiday period:
1. Sign up and install Covenant Eyes Internet protection software on all your family devices
The reason we recommend Covenant Eyes software is because it doesn't just filter the content that you don't want your family exposed to, it also provides you with reports about what sort of activity is taking place on your family devices. This means that there is both protection AND accountability built into Covenant Eyes.
Not only that, but it also works across all of your devices - computers, laptops, tablets and smartphones.
2. Make sure you watch our online video resource 10 Practical Tips for Porn-Proofing Your Family Home:
3. Put holiday boundaries in place around device usage, and then explain them to your family before the school holidays begin
Don't forget to also remind them that they can come to you at anytime over the holidays should they find content, or experience something online that just doesn't seem right, or makes them feel uncomfortable.
And remember to include a discussion about any Internet usage that might take place outside your family home, at the houses of friends or family, etc., over the summer break.
Also, don't forget to spend some time these holidays with your children, getting them to show you all of their favourite stuff on the Internet.
Not only is this a great way to connect with your children doing something that they enjoy, and not only does it raise your awareness as a parent, but it also helps to build the sort of bond where your children are more likely to come to you if they experience something that isn't right on the Internet these school holidays.