Keeping Young People Safe Online

Setting Up A New Device

What you need to know

When a child uses a device that can access the internet, they aren’t just using the device itself: they have in their hands a portal to the entire online world. And while that includes all the fun bits, like chatting with friends and finding new favourite games, it also comes with a whole host of potential safeguarding risks. In the offline world, we teach children and young people how to be safe. We show them how to cross the road carefully, we talk to them about stranger danger, not to touch hot things and what to do in an emergency. When children and young people are introduced to new devices and given access to the online world, those same safeguarding principles should be applied – and prioritised. Just as you wouldn’t drop your child off at the playground unsupervised on their first trip there, so too should first encounters with online spaces be accompanied and guided.

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How to set parental controls

Internet Matters have created simple and straightforward step by step parental controls guides to help you set up the right controls and privacy settings on the networks, gadgets, apps, and sites children use to give them a safer online experience. Setting up a device is an exciting moment, but it is important to consider practical help available such as broadband safety settings, discussing healthy device habits and staying informed of online safety issues. Here’s what you need to know:
  • Learn about broadband providers: The first step is to ensure that your home environment is secure and ready for your child to access the internet. Many major broadband providers offer age restriction settings that prevent children from accessing inappropriate online content.
  • Safety and privacy settings: Use this Online Safety Hub to learn about implementing SafeSearch filters on search engines like Google and Yahoo, how to set up in app purchase restrictions to guarantee all spending is approved by you and how to use the device settings to set up agreed upon restrictions, like screen time and app limits.
  • Parent accounts: Ensure that your personal account is designated as the Parent account, and you retain control over all permissions. Some children have been known to set up their accounts as the “parent account,” granting themselves access to credit card details. Make sure your parental control PIN number is secure and random, avoiding anything that your child could easily guess to bypass seeking your permission.
  • Discuss and agree on healthy device habits: Once the device has been set up, take the time to sit down with your child and agree on some healthy rules and boundaries for how they will use the device. We know – your child will want to use the device immediately. Use your time during device set up to talk about why healthy habits are important.
  • Check-in with your child: Laying the foundation for safe device use is only the beginning. It’s important to build on what you’ve established. Take opportunities to intentionally check-in with your child. It doesn’t have to be a big sit-down conversation! Informal chats over the dinner table, in the car, or while watching television as a family can have the biggest impact.

Welcome to the Online Safety Hub

How old are you?

If you are under 18, click the blue button below to visit the Online Safety Hub micro-site for children and young people.