What Parents needs to know?
As a parent, we all know that the internet can be a wonderful tool for us all to learn, share and explore via the comfort of our own home from whatever device we choose. We didn’t grow up with the internet at our fingertips, but your kids have. This is how they communicate. Social Networks can be a fantastic place for your kids to stay in touch with their friends and make new friends but the internet is a big place and with it comes dangers. It is important that your kids are taught how to use the internet safely in a practical way, protect themselves and behave in a positive manner online as you have taught them offline.
As a parent, the aim is to know more than or at least as much about the internet as your own child does. If your child knows more than you do, they will always be able to manoeuvre their way around any restrictions you set. First let’s look at the dangers, identify them and tell you how to counteract them.
So What are the Risks for Kids using the Internet?
Internet predators are people who lie about their age and pretend to be of an age that is similar to your child’s. They can do this with great ease, as all interaction happens from behind a screen with no verification process. These internet predators target children and lure them into meeting them or disclose information/pictures etc without a parent’s knowledge. This process isn’t one that happens overnight either, as this interaction might last for weeks/months or even years, until the predator has built up trust with your child. These internet predators unfortunately exist on most social networks. Predators can be anyone, anywhere, working in any profession. Cybersmarties is a locked down social network meaning only children have access to use it. Each child is verified as a real child through their school and the platform is fully monitored by real people.
Access to Websites
Although one of the positive aspects of the internet is the wide variety of websites that are available, this is also one of its biggest dangers for children. Such availability of websites can lead your child to unintentionally come across inappropriate websites such as grown up social networking websites, adult chat rooms, pornographic websites, and websites that are violent in nature. When children are on Cybersmarties, they cannot access any search engines to bring them to any negative websites. We have games, cartoons, coding, art, memes etc to keep them entertained and keep them on Cybersmarties where they are safe.
Not all information is private online. Most social networks have the ability to have either a public or a private account. However, most children who are on grown up social networks have their accounts open, which can lead to personal information being gathered. Cybersmarties holds no data on any child. As we have a unique registration process, we do not need email addresses and at the end of each year each child’s data is erased.
So What is Cybersmarties ?
Cybersmarties is the first, safe educational social network for primary school kids. Cybersmarties is only for kids, no adults are allowed – each child is authenticated as a real child.
Cybersmarties is fully monitored and is a fully locked down system. No data is kept on any child and kids cannot upload pictures of themselves (They use fun avatars instead). Kids are currently using CyberSmarties which uses behavioural technology combined with education to teach children positive online behaviour, eliminate cyber-bullying and protect their online presence. There have been .0018% instances of cyberbullying on Cybersmarties to date – We’re very proud of that.
An Garda Síochána Endorsement
Cybersmarties is working in conjunction with The Garda National Protective Services Bureau to help combat the dangers of cyberbullying and promote positive mental health among Irish primary school children on a practical level. We have been working with the Garda National Protective Services Bureau for over two years now and we are incredibly grateful to have the support of such a dedicated and forward thinking group of professionals. The An Garda Siochána Patent for Safety is a testament to the safety features we have implemented to ensure children are kept safe online.
HOW TO PROTECT YOUR CHILD IF THEY’RE NOT ON CYBERSMARTIES
Restrictions and Filters
Although there are many additional online safety tools for parents that can be purchased online, did you know that most internet browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Safari, Opera and Microsoft Internet Explorer/Edge comes with standard and free parental control option that just needs to be activated? If you follow these easy steps, you can protect inappropriate websites from your child.
FACEBOOK PARENTS PORTAL
Meta has policies, resources and tools in place, to protect young children online.
RESTRICTIONS AND CHILDREN’S WINDOWS 10 ACCOUNTS – HOW TO SETUP MICROSOFT FAMILY WITH WINDOWS 10 FILTERS
Windows 10 offers the facility to restrict access to programs that can be run, websites that can be surfed and limit screen time.
MOZILLA FIREFOX – FREE PARENTAL FILTER ADD ON
Mozilla Firefox has an add-on security filter (Fox Web Security) that provides protection from dangerous sites.
GOOGLE CHROME – FREE PARENTAL FILTER ADD ON
Parental control and safe browsing by blocking inappropriate sites, can be enabled in the Google Chrome browser.
APPLE’S SAFARI – PARENTAL CONTROLS INTERNET CONTENT FILTER
Mac/iOS can automatically filter website content to limit access to adult content in Safari and other apps on your iOS device.
On your Mac, do one of the following:
If you’re using Family Sharing: Log in to your Mac user account, then make sure you’re signed in with your Apple ID.
If you aren’t using Family Sharing: Log in to a family member’s Mac user account.
Choose Apple menu > System Settings, then click Screen Time in the sidebar. (You may need to scroll down.)
If you’re using Family Sharing, click the Family Member pop-up menu on the right, then choose a family member.
Click Content & Privacy, then turn it on if it’s not on already.
To restrict web content, click Content Restrictions, then turn options on or off. See Change Content Restrictions settings in Screen Time.
To restrict films, TV programmes and app purchases, click Store Restrictions, then turn options on or off. See Change Store Restrictions settings in Screen Time.
To restrict apps, click App Restrictions, then turn options on or off. See Change App Restrictions settings in Screen Time.
To lock certain settings, click Preference Restrictions, then turn options on or off. See Change Preference Restrictions settings in Screen Time.
On your Mac, do one of the following: