Your child may start using a mobile phone, online gaming console or the internet alongside their siblings or with you. How you set up and configure those devices can help establish a safe online learning and play environment for young children.
- Put the computer in the main family room. Technology use is then a part of family interaction from the very beginning.
- Install the Hector’s World Safety Button™ and show your child how to use it.
- Ensure that your computer security is up-to-date.
- Use the parental control systems that come free with some operating systems to set time limits or create a list of approved sites for your child.
- Create an account for every member of the family on the home computer so there is an understanding of accountability for time online.
- Consider using filtering or monitoring software. For young children, filtering can help prevent accidental access to unwanted material, but education is still crucial.
- Check that the model of mobile phone is appropriate for your child. If the phone is primarily a safety device, then internet access is not needed.
- Be aware of the online capability of new devices or services.
The point when it is appropriate for a child to be online unsupervised at home is for you to decide, based on the readiness of your child for that responsibility. Research shows kids who are not risk-takers offline, are generally conservative about risk online and handle the responsibility well.