The internet has become one of life’s basic necessities - and while we adults remember a time before the World Wide Web, it is a completely different story for our kids.
Nowadays children are growing up on the Internet, and whether it’s through gaming apps or social media platforms, they are entering online spaces and being exposed to unfiltered content from a very young age.
Sure, there are certainly benefits to these technological advancements, but there are also dangers. And at a time when cyberbullying, grooming and identity theft are very real risks, keeping our children safe online is a full-time concern.
91% of parents fear that their children could be harmed by social media, from being exposed to dangerous content to being targeted by online abuse. And furthermore, 81% of parents worry their children will use the internet inappropriately, having been exposed to the online world from such a young age without adequate preparation.
With concerns only growing, tech brands have been working hard to meet our needs - which in this case means helping us parents keep our children safe online.
EE is among them, listening to the concerns of its consumers and creating new tech in response - putting the power in the parents’ hands, educating us all about online dangers, and inspiring positive online behaviour going forward.
As we approach the festive season where new devices and screen time levels reach their peak, we break down some of the tech company’s top features to help keep children of all ages safe online.
Here’s how four EE tech hacks can help keep our children safe online…
1. Preparing our children for the online world
Children are accessing the internet at increasingly younger ages - with too many of them diving into the online world without proper education on its potential dangers. It can be terrifying for us parents, but having our kids enter online spaces doesn’t have to be so scary. In an effort to help us keep our children safe, EE has teamed up with a panel of child safety experts and charities to create the PhoneSmart License. The free interactive course is designed to prepare children for their first phone, and to help them navigate the online world in a positive way, earning them a PhoneSmart License. FYI there’s a parent hub for us too, keeping us up to date and importantly, giving us peace of mind!
2. Setting kids up with their first devices
Setting children up with their own phones and laptops can be a very daunting prospect - especially when trying to keep them safe. Our recommendation? EE’s Set Up Safe Service - guiding us parents through the logistics of setting up our children’s tech, and providing features to ensure that the control remains with us (AKA the bill payers). Content locks, blocks on adult websites and inappropriate content - you name it, they’ve got it, broken down into three simple age-relevant packages - under 9s, preteens and teens. Not to mention, it also allows you to set spending caps for your kids - blocking the purchasing of additional data and of course third-party charges to your bill. We’ve all received a hefty charge at some point, and whether it was a gaming subscription you didn’t know you were paying for or a Love Island contestant you were voting for without your knowledge, this feature will ensure it doesn’t happen again. In short, it gives you a bit of control over what your children can see and spend online.
3. Filtering the content our children have access to online
We parents have almost zero control over our children’s Internet activity and what they are exposed to online. And with harmful messages spreading on social media and the rise of dangerous influencers, that’s a very scary thought. This is where EE’s new WiFi Controls feature comes in, giving customers ownership over their network, and allowing you to protect your family with both its parental and access controls. Crucially you can set content filters for your children and protect their (and your) devices from threats - we’ve all experienced an onslaught of viruses from our children pressing a dodgy link, and no one needs that inconvenience again. Plus, with full control over the devices on your network, you can also limit their screen time, allowing you to pause the WiFi at the click of a button or even schedule a WiFi freeze on your children’s devices.
4. Understanding the dangers of the internet ourselves
It’s not just our children that need to be aware of the dangers of the Internet - it’s us as well. And from pornography and cyber bullying to online grooming and self harm, we need to stay informed about what our children might be exposed to. For this, EE has partnered with Internet Matters, an informative and trusted platform promoting online safety - we’re talking internet safety hubs, online safety plans - the works. Designed specifically for parents, Internet Matters is a reliable source of expert information, breaking down all potential online dangers, from fake news exposure to radicalisation - providing practical information on reducing the risks, spotting the signs, reporting the issue and ultimately dealing with the problem.
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Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.
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