According to some new research from OfCom, children are now spending as much time online as they do watching TV. While the internet is great for watching content online, keeping in touch with friends and is a useful learning tool, parents can rightly become concerned about their child browsing online. Unlike with TV there is no ‘watershed’ for the internet. Because of this some parents could be worried how much time their children are spending online and, most importantly, if they are safe.
Having different user accounts on family computers with different levels of access and “nanny” software can be a good place to start, but might not always block out 100% of harmful websites. Similarly, controlling levels of internet access can be difficult to predict. There are sites that children legitimately need to access for homework that contain content unsuitable for their age group. Thankfully, the latest generation of home networking products can help parents keep an eye on their child’s browsing without looking over their shoulder every two minutes or limiting their access completely.
For parents that are worried about harmful sites, they can now easily adjust their network settings to block access to sites they don’t want their children having access to. Some parents want to give their children a relatively free reign but also want to be assured they are browsing responsibly, and these can now log into the network via their smartphone or tablet device. This means they can check up on their children’s online activities while at work, on the way home or even from another country. Here they can see the history of all the sites that their child has been visiting in real time and restrict access if required. The internet is becoming more central to children’s lives, but with the right tools parents can be assured that browsing stays safe and fun.