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Safe Surfing at Home

Anti-virus programmes and spyware aren’t the only ways to protect your kids online. Check out these other safety tips.


Mobile Phones and Tablets

If you have an iPhone or iPad

Restrictions Go to Settings > General > Restrictions. Select Enable Restrictions, where you can set up a four-digit PIN. Now you can prevent access to the camera, Safari, iTunes, and in-app purchases.

You can also select what content is allowed on the phone by way of ratings (from G to M18), disallow TV programmes, block books rated with sexual content, as well as allow access to only websites. Note that older kids can disable the restriction by doing a factory reset, so be sure to set some ground rules.

Disable Location Services Go to Settings > Privacy > Location Services. If you want to be able to use the Find My iPhone function, then enable Location Services and switch all the apps to OFF except for Find My iPhone.

If you have an Android

Kid Mode Some Android phones – such as HTC – have Kid Mode, which allows you to limit content your children can access. Simply go to Settings > Security > Kid Mode and follow the instructions.

Limit Apps and in-app Purchases Go to the Google Play store > Tap on the three short lines in the top-left corner of the screen > Settings > Content Filtering > Select App ratings that your kids are allowed to download and use (Everyone and Low Maturity are the only ratings suitable for under-12s).

Under the same Settings menu as Content Filtering, select Require Password for Purchases and Select for All Purchases. Make sure your child doesn’t know your password!

Disable Location Services Go to Settings > Location > Off.


Computers and Laptops

If you have a Mac

From the Apple menu, choose System Preferences > Parental Controls. Open Parental Controls preferences, click the lock icon to unlock it, and then enter an administrator name and password.

Select the child’s user name, then click Enable Parental Controls. If the user name isn’t in the list, click Add (+), then fill in the name, account, and password information to create a new user. From here, you can go through the headings, which include Apps, Web, People, Time Limits and Other, to determine what limits you’d like
to set with regards to content and online access. Go through all of them and set the required restrictions.

If you’re on Windows

Use the Search button and type in Parental Controls. Click on it and follow the instructions to set it up. If you don’t have a separate user account for your child, you will need to set one up first by clicking on Create a New User Account. From here, you can get reports on your kids’ online activity, set time limits and game restrictions, and keep your children from running specific programmes.

Windows has an additional service called Family Safety, which monitors your children’s computer activity and filters the content they can see on the Web. It needs to be installed and set up on each computer or laptop the kids use. On Windows, search for Family Safety and install it.


Tips from Robyn Rishani, cyber safety expert and speaker, and creator and founder of Your Kids Online, an Australian-based cyber safety awareness company.

By Sasha Gonzales, Young Parents, March 2015


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