In the Age of Momo, Are Your Kids Really Safe Online?

Are you confident that your kids are safe online? Or are you panicking over all the potentials — from phishing schemes and Nigerian princes to far worse?  These days, with murmurs of Momo threatening our kids through Peppa Pig, it’s hard to be confident about anything.

Many of us spend an inordinate amount of our day on the internet, and despite our best intentions, our kids are internet-obsessed, too. But do we as parents know how to keep kids safe in today’s digital environment? A watchful eye over their shoulders can’t protect them at all times.

“It can take a second for a child to see porn on a parent’s phone, or be approached by a stranger online through a messaging app or an online game like Roblox, Fortnite or Minecraft,” said Cyber safety educator and advocate Leonie G. Smith, also known as The Cyber Safety Lady. “Take your eye off your child for literally seconds when they are on a device, and your child may get hurt online. Many parents tell me the first time they know their child was hurt online was through the parent’s own device. The parent in some cases handed their phone to their child and within a short time, the child navigated to a place that they cannot unsee.”

We spoke with the experts at Google and YouTube for their top tips on keeping kids safe in the wild, wild web.

Immediate steps you can take

If the task of keeping your computer — and your kids — completely tech-safe seems Herculean, these quick steps are an easy way to start.

Apps and games that teach safety

Part of learning about how to keep your kids safe online is teaching them how to be safe. It’s something akin to giving a kid a fish versus teaching them how to fish. A lightweight way to start is with these accessible and even fun apps and games:

Safe places for kids

After you’ve protected your computer and helped provide a baseline education about online safety to your kids, follow these tips to ensure maximum protection:

“Parental control settings are vital to protect young eyes from stumbling across upsetting content online. But they will not work 100% of the time, parents still need to supervise closely and be aware of the platforms that are risk-free of your child experiencing an upsetting incident,” said Smith.

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