Keeping your kids safe online

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This week's family article is a guest feature by David Silvester, IT expert from QWERTY IT Services

The Internet in its various forms is a fantastic resource for our children. It helps them perform research for homework, find the answers to interesting questions and allows them to socialise and have fun.

However, along with all these benefits there are also some extremely worrying aspects of the Internet such as violent and pornographic content, false information, cyber-bullying, sexual grooming and hacking groups to name just a few.

As a parent it can be very hard to understand all these dangers as well as knowing how to protect our children from them whilst also allowing them to access what is, for the most part, a great resource.

In this article we will guide you through the Internet in all its forms as well as providing useful tips that will help you to ensure your children’s online safety.

QWERTY Keeping kids safe - wiki

Understanding the online world

In order to keep your kids safe online it is important to understand what “online” actually means. A couple of years ago your primary concerns would have been search engines, websites and making sure that your children were not looking at any inappropriate content.

Unfortunately, this has become a lot more complicated in recent years due to the Internet being made available on so many different types of devices and in so many different forms. At the same time the ways in which we can interact with each other online has also expanded.

Common devices that provide online Internet access

  • Laptops and computers
  • Mobile phones
  • Tablets
  • Games consoles

Common online platforms that your children might be using



Type of use / Risks

Search engines

Access to web based content from all over the world. Very difficult to categorise or restrict content that is returned in the search results.


Informational resources from anywhere in the world. Risk of being presented with sensitive or adult content.

Video sharing

Access to video content which can be hard to screen and regulate. Ability to publish video content online.

Social Media

Ability to communicate with others and potentially to publish sensitive information online.

Gaming networks

Xbox Live

Ability to communicate with others via various means including text, audio and video. Can be difficult to monitor.



Ability to share and publish short videos with other users.


How do I keep my child safe online?

Now that you understand the risks to your children when using the Internet, as well as the ways in which they can access the Internet, lets look at some actionable tips to keep your child safe whilst they are online.

Tip 1: Be involved in your child’s online activity

This is probably the most important step you can take to ensure your kids online safety. Be involved in their online activities. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to be standing over their shoulder whilst they are online, but make sure you talk to them regularly about their online activities, periodically watch what they are doing online and be involved in registering any online accounts including email addresses and installing apps.

Not only will this help you to understand what your children are doing online and whether it is safe, but it will also give you a level of access to all their accounts and allow you to easily monitor and regulate their online activities.

Tip 2: Make use of child accounts

When your children ask to sign up to a new app or online service, always do some research into the correct way of signing up. Many online services have child friendly accounts that will allow you to control the available content.

A good example of this is the Xbox Live – the online gaming platform. Xbox Live allows its users to play and communicate together online but also offers the ability to create a child account from which you can restrict online chat and friends list settings.

Make sure you talk to your kids regularly about their online activities.

Tip 3: Register accounts in your name

If you can’t register a child friendly account, then the second best option is to register the account in your name or create an account specifically for your child and one that you have access to.

Most online accounts are also linked to an email address so it’s a good idea to also create the email address for your child, and ensure you have access to it as well. With most common email providers, such as Gmail, allow you to automatically forward emails which is a great way of ensuring that you get a copy of all communication sent to your child.

YouTube is a good example of where this can come in useful – if you create a YouTube account for your child and set up email forwarding then you will be updated via email about your child’s YouTube activities.

Tip 4: Understand the sites that your child is accessing

Sometimes it can be difficult to understand the types of websites that your child is accessing whilst online. This can be even more complicated when it comes to video content.

It is a very good idea to spend time, both with your child and on your own, looking at the websites and videos that your child is looking at, and getting a feel for the type of content involved.

For example, there are lots of Youtubers that target children with their content and whilst it may be child friendly and free from swearing and adult content, sometimes the underlying message or the attitude of these Youtubers might not feel appropriate for your child.

Restriction is not a bad thing and it can be used in varying degrees.Watching these videos from start to finish will give you a much better idea of the content your child is being exposed to, compared to just glancing over your child’s shoulder and seeing a small snapshot of the content they are watching.

Tip 5: Restricting online access

There are various ways in which you can restrict your child’s online access. Restriction is not a bad thing and it can be used in varying degrees depending on the amount of time that your child currently spends online as well as the type of access they have.

If your child has an Apple device such as an iPad, then you can make use of screen time. This is a built in feature of iOS that allows you to limit the amount of time that your child can spend on the device. The app provides you with the ability to restrict the use of app, regulate the type of content that your child can access and even produces weekly reports of your child’s online activity.

For Android devices there are various apps for restricting content such as Trend Micros security and antivirus app, available from the play store.

If your child uses a laptop or desktop computer there are various apps for controlling the amount of time spent online and restricting content including Kidslox and Wefisy.

QWERTY Keeping kids safe - rainbow

Tip 6: Monitoring online activity

It can also be useful to periodically monitor your child’s online activity. This can be done in various ways including:

  • Checking the recent searches your child has made online – you can do this by going into the search engine they use and clicking on the search box. This will show up a list of recent searches. This often provides a good insight into the type of questions your child has been asking online.

  • Checking browser history – This can be done from mobile devices as well as laptops. The way to do this will vary depending on the type of device that your child bas been using but almost all devices keep a log of the websites that have been visited and this is another good way of checking up what your child has been looking at whilst online.

  • Check messaging apps – There are lots of apps that will allow your child to communicate with their friends and it is a good idea to periodically check through the messages on those apps, just to keep up to date with who your child is chatting with online as well as the conversations they are having.

Hopefully you now have a good understanding of the ways in which your child can get online, the dangers that are involved with the different forms of online access as well as some useful tips on how to ensure your child’s online safety.


Qwerty IT are an IT Support company based in Perth, who offer business IT Support to businesses in Perth, Dundee, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Aberdeen and across Scotland.

They have been providing computer support and repairs to residents and businesses in Perth and surrounding areas since 2014. They offer a friendly, efficient service and their aim is always to exceed their customers expectations. Check our their directory listing for more >>>

Check out our Family contributor, Alice's article to find out her parent's take on keeping kids safe online >>>

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