How to keep children safe online – NCC

Nigerian Communications Commission,NCC has outlined some tips on how to keep chidren safe online.Read excerpts from the document below:

To keep children safe online, parents and care givers should:

  1. Anticipate risks:Anticipation of risks will lead to appropriate control measures being put in place before a child is allowed access to digital devices or the internet. Some of these anticipatory control measures include:

 Parental education:As a parent, stay informed and educated about the use of your devices and the devices your child has access to. Stay informed on various social network sites and what happens on them. Stay informed and better educated than your children and wards. Make them understand that you know as much or more than they do. Therefore, be their go-to person for information on what to do with the device you eventually give them access to.

 Care Givers should be trained on how to guide children in

online activities:Schools have adopted the use of online platforms for education. Care must be taken to educate the teachers and prepare them for the avalanche of questions from children, on the use of various online applications or whatever information the children encounter online.

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 NCC Toll Free Line:622
     
Cece Yara Foundation:08008008001 (for children, toll free)
    07007007001 (for adults, non toll free)

The teachers are major support networks and pillars in the life of any child. They are oftentimes as trusted as parents are.

 Install child appropriate apps/search engines: Before a device is given to a child, age appropriate applications should first be installed on it. This will protect the child from inadvertently stumbling into wrong sites that appear as pop-ups.

 Install firewall: Firewalls act as content filters. They help make sure non-age appropriate content does not appear on the child’s device.

 Set timers on all devices used by the child: This helps to create discipline and structure for the child. Ensure clear time boundaries are set.

  • Empower the child: This is one of the most important steps any parent can take. There is a sense of privacy associated with being online. Parents will not always be there when children go online. Adopting a child–centric approach to the use of the internet prepares the child for unforeseen issues and assures the child of the trust and respect of his/her parent.
 NCC Toll Free Line:622 
      
Cece Yara Foundation:08008008001(for children, toll free)
    07007007001(for adults, non toll free)

Children will enjoy the benefits and advantages of the internet when they know how to stay in control and not allow themselves to be victims of the platforms and devices.

a.Set ground rules and instructions in collaboration with the child.

b.Teach children basic online safety skills and how to apply them.

  • Pay attention/be observant: As children spend more time online, observe behavioral patterns and changes. Recognize unusual activities, actions and reactions. Where any change is observed, calmly address those changes and allow the child sufficient room to talk without being judgmental. The home is a safety net for children. It is also the best support system that allows an abused child recover from abuse and provides a means for managing post abuse trauma. Children need to know they can go to their parents with whatever concerns they encounter online.
  • Discuss and Engage your Children:

 Ask how your children use the internet. Make them show you some of their favorite sites and discuss with them, make them aware that there are things on the internet which may upset them and that they can always talk to you or any trusted adult.

 Make sure your child realizes that he or she should never give out personal details, such as name, address, school, and telephone numbers, to online friends they do not know in the real world.

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NCC Toll Free Line:622
    
Cece Yara Foundation:08008008001 (for children, toll free)
   07007007001 (for adults, non toll free)

 Tell the child to never respond to junk emails or open attachments that are from unknown sources.

 Be aware of any changes in the way a child uses the internet, such as the amount of time spent online. Also support your child to report bullying online, by contacting you immediately it occurs.

 Encourage children to use nicknames and login names that don’t reveal any personal information about them.

 Educate children on the possibility of people using fake names purposely to cheat, hurt or impersonate others.

 Use the parental control settings on your browser, search engine and internet security package.

 Work with your child to understand how search engines work so that they don’t stumble on inappropriate content.

 Consider using the filtering software that is available from your internet service provider or from retailers, these can help block inappropriate material. Check with your internet service provider to learn how to block sites you don’t want children to see.

 Gain the child’s or young person’s confidence by appealing to his or her interests, teach them to think twice before they upload or download anything online.

  • If your child is using online platforms or programs for schoolwork, ensure a healthy balance between non-school related online activities and offline time.
 NCC Toll Free Line:622
     
Cece Yara Foundation:08008008001 (for children, toll free)
    07007007001 (for adults, non toll free)

Here are some helpful tips:

 During non-school hours at home, establish time limits around when and for how long your child can be online.

 Use the available technologies — parental controls and tools to monitor online time allow you to measure and set time limits on device use or internet access. Be honest and open about why you want to use these technologies.

 Turn off notifications for social media apps to help minimize distractions.

 Depending on your child’s age, you can establish a family tech agreement that balances time spent in front of screens with offline activities. You can find templates by searching online.

 Include ‘offline’ activities in your routine at home — this can include family exercise, reading time or board games.

  • Model good behaviour in your use of media and digital devices Generally, children will imitate what they see in the influencers around them. Hence, parents and cares must take active steps to

ensure that they set the ideal example for online behaviour, that children can follow. We suggest some tips below:

 Set a time to your own media usage

 Where you use media or devices heavily due to work, it is important to explain this to children so they understand

 Avoid forwarding content to your children that you have not verified  Share lessons with children about other adults who have lost out of opportunities due to their online activities

 NCC Toll Free Line:622
     
Cece Yara Foundation:08008008001 (for children, toll free)
    07007007001 (for adults, non toll free)
  • Use parental controls and safe search options:

Parental controls are software tools that allow you to monitor and limit what your child sees and does online. They can be used to filter harmful content, such as ‘adult’ or sexual material, and to monitor, time-limit or block your child’s use of connected devices and functions such as cameras. While parental controls can be effective tools to help control and limit what your child does online, they are not foolproof. There is no substitute for active parental engagement and oversight of a child’s online activities. Helping your child build good online safety habits is just as important.

How do I use parental controls?

 Check if your wi-fi router has software that allows you to set up parental controls across your whole family wi-fi network. Search online for reputable child-friendly wi-fi products using terms like ‘child friendly routers’, ‘child friendly wi-fi’, ‘family friendly routers’ and ‘child safe wifi’.

 Check out the parental controls available on most tablets, smartphones, computers, TVs and gaming consoles. Look at: Windows, Mac OS, Apple (from iOS12), Android using Google Play or Google Family Link.

 Use the PIN code locking feature on smart TVs or disconnecting the TV from the internet if you are not using the ‘smart’ features.

 Use parental controls to limit your child’s cellular/mobile data usage.

 NCC Toll Free Line:622
     
Cece Yara Foundation:08008008001 (for children, toll free)
    07007007001 (for adults, non toll free)

 Use the parental control measures on streaming services and gaming consoles to help manage gaming activity. Search for the streaming service or console name and ‘parental controls’ to see your options.

 Download or purchase family safety controls or filters. To find a filter that is right for you, search online using terms like ‘internet filters’ or ‘family filters’ and check out its reviews.

 Set up child-friendly search engines or select safe search settings on digital devices to help prevent your child from stumbling across inappropriate sites and content.

  • Safe browsing tips

 Encourage younger children to always ask an adult before clicking on an ‘Accept’, ‘Allow’ or ‘OK’ button on a website as sites may display other messages or disclaimers that require a response.

 Set up bookmarks in your child’s browser for sites you would like them to use.

 Learn how to adapt filtering tool settings to reflect each user’s age and skills if multiple members of your family share a device or program.

 Be aware that many search engines also contain advertising and know there is always a risk that inappropriate material could still slip through.

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