Protecting your kids from online dangers

Whether they're toddlers or teens, parents need to be aware of online safety

July 01 2016

ESET, a digital protection company, has put together this handy guide offering advice on how to manage this over the years:


Under 5-year-old

While the children may be young, it’s one of the most important age group to start online safety. This will have an impact on your kids for the rest of their lives – especially as they are being introduced to technology at such an early age nowadays. 


Ensure your own devices are password protected so that your youngsters can’t accidently go online when you’re out of sight


This is as good a time to invest in parental control software which will be a powerful tool for safe online use and suitable up to the age of 14.


Start talking about online safety and set boundaries. For example, stress the importance of not talking to strangers online and set limits to device usage


5-9 year olds

In this age group, there is a real shift between the way parents and children view technology. From an ESET study for example, we can see some differences following nationalities. Russian mums and dads will give their children their first mobile at an average age of seven years and two months. Meanwhile, in the UK, the average age is nine years and eight months.


Continue with the previous tips, adjusting, for example, some of the settings on your parental control app


Ensure that your children are accessing age-appropriate content (films, video games and, nowadays, apps)


If your children have their own device, ensure that there are limits to what can be done/accessed


10-12 year olds

This age group is where children begin to develop their tech skills, as well as gain a better understanding of technology and the internet – they know shortcuts, have favourite websites and are even active on social network accounts. It’s also the age group where children will start to really question and query things, where there is a desire to take ownership and responsibility over their devices and what they view online.’


Reinforce why you limit usage and why have restrictions in place – it’s not about control, but about safety and what you deem appropriate for their age


Shift the focus of your conversation with your children to topics such as privacy and cybercrime. Your kids are among the most vulnerable groups online


Reiterate the importance of security – from passphrases to two-factor authentication and encryption, there’s plenty of ways of staying protected


13-16 year olds

This age group can test parents’ boundaries as they are still young and dependent on parents for many things but are keen for a sense of independence. What’s essential is that there is trust - on both sides. This way, you as a parent, can feel confident about letting your kids get on with their lives, while not having to look over their shoulder constantly.


Again, your ongoing conversation with your kids will need to change and take on more adult topics – things to bring up at this age are cyberbullying, sexting and the threat of online predators


As you may have done with other things – like buying clothes and spending money on leisurely activities – let them take control of things like app, music or film purchases (setting limits of course)