10 e-safety tips your kids need to know!

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In conjunction with Safer Internet Day and our ongoing quest to make the internet safer for our children we’ve compiled some of our top internet safety tips. Here are 10 things you and your kids need to know:

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  1. Don’t give away personal information

Not everyone is who they say they are online, therefore you should never give away personal information. Details like address, phone number and even the school you go to should be kept private.

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  1. Think before you share

Once you have posted something online it can often be difficult to remove. Even if you only intended to send a message to a friend it’s possible that it could be screenshotted and sent to other people.

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  1. Keep it private

Do you really want a future employer seeing that tweet about how much you hate Maths? Make sure you’ve got the right privacy settings on your social media accounts so that only close friends and family can see your posts. We have a full guide for doing this on Facebook and Twitter here.

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  1. Switch off 1 hour before bed

Research has shown that the use of backlit devices such as smartphones and tablets can supress melatonin production. Melatonin is the hormone which regulates sleep, therefore it’s recommended that you switch off one hour before bed to get a good night’s sleep.

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  1. Report cyberbullying

If you receive any threatening or abusive messages it’s best not to retaliate, as this can often provoke further messages. Most social media sites have a ‘report’ button and you can also take a screenshot of the messages to show to a teacher or parent.

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  1. Never meet up with anyone you’ve met online

You should always speak to a parent or guardian if a stranger suggests that you meet.

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  1. Keep passwords safe & secure

You should always keep your passwords private; don’t even tell your close friends. You should also never choose a password that somebody could guess, like your date of birth or the name of a pet. The safest passwords include a mixture of upper and lower case letters as well as numbers and special characters.

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  1. Use Nicknames

When using a micro-blogging site like Twitter you should always use a nickname rather than your full name. It’s often a good idea to sign up using a different email address to the one you use for school/work.

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  1. Have a social media spring clean

It’s a good idea to have a regular clean-up of your social media accounts. Un-tag yourself from any unwanted photos and delete old posts. You should also delete any old social media accounts to avoid leaving unnecessary information about yourself online.

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  1. Use parental controls

The easiest way for parents to get peace of mind that their kids are safe online is to set up parental controls. The only problem is that they’re often too complicated to setup and easy for kids to get around.

HomeHalo a simple and secure way for parents to manage their kids’ devices. With our handy app you can apply age appropriate filtering to all of your kids Wi-Fi devices; making sure they aren’t accessing any harmful sites or spending too long online. If you need to get them off their devices for bed or dinner all it takes is a few taps of the app. If you want to see how HomeHalo can make your life as a parent easier, just download our app and try out the free demo. Android Download | iOS/iPhone Download

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Parental Control on Youtube

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With over 300 hours of new video being added every minute, YouTube is one of the most popular video sharing sites on the web. Since the first video was uploaded in 2005 the site has grown to have over 1 billion users, uploading clips of anything from music and games, to videos of their pets.

Whilst it can be a great source of entertainment for kids there’s a lot of content on there that you wouldn’t want your kids seeing. That’s why we created this guide, to help you setup secure parental control on YouTube.

 
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Parental Control on YouTube: Activating Safe Mode

 

When it comes to parental control on YouTube, the site provides a “safe mode” option which filters out videos which have been flagged as inappropriate. Whilst YouTube state that the safe search option is not 100% accurate, it’s a good place to start when safeguarding your kids against inappropriate videos.

Follow these simple steps to get Safe Mode set up and locked down:

1- Go to  youtube.com and scroll to the bottom of the Homepage.

2- Click on the button titled “Safety”.

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3- If you select the “on” option a message will appear allowing you to lock safety mode. This will mean that your children cannot disable safe mode without having your username and password.parental-control-on-youtube-screenshot2

4- To do this, click “sign in” and you’ll be prompted to enter your YouTube login details.

5- Once you’ve entered your details simply click ‘Save’. Safe Mode will now be activated.

6- You are now free to sign out and safe mode will be locked on your browser.

Please note: This will only lock safe mode on the browser you are using. You will need to repeat this process for all the browsers on your device.

 

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Parental Control on YouTube: Setting time limits

 

Another thing to bear in mind is the amount of time your kids spend on YouTube. Recent news articles have reported that many children are missing out on sleep and having trouble focusing at school, as a result of spending too long on YouTube.  A recent BBC article reported that Minecraft videos have become the 2nd most searched for term on Youtube. Stating that some children’s Minecraft obsession can lead them to neglect their schoolwork and become irritated when not playing or watching the game.

So what can you do about it? With HomeHalo you can set up time limits for when your kids can access Youtube. Whether they use a tablet, smartphone or any other Wi-Fi gadget you can ensure they aren’t sneaking online after lights out. To find out more, you can watch our video here https://youtu.be/–s4o4_FqgQ

 

With a combination of HomeHalo parental control and Youtube safe mode you can get peace of mind that your kids are safe when they’re watching they’re favorite videos. If you’ve found this post useful you might also want to check out our post on Facebook and Twitter privacy settings: www.homehalo.co.uk/blog/privacy-settings/

 

 

Privacy settings on Facebook & Twitter

Social media has become a central part of the lives of today’s digital youth, forming a platform for children to communicate with friends and learn about the world around them. In fact, research has shown that 59% of children have used a social network by age 10, and over half of all adolescents log on to a social networking site more than once a day.

As the time children spend on social media increases, so do the dangers they’re exposed to. In fact 12% of teens say that they witness cruel behaviour on social media frequently. Bullying, harassment & contact with strangers are just a few of these dangers and are a worry for most parents.

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As parents, the first thing you should do to protect your kids is to ensure they have the right privacy settings in place on their social media accounts. In this guide we’ll walk you through how to apply basic privacy settings on Facebook and Twitter.

Protecting you children’s Tweets

On twitter your children can select “protect my tweets”, so that only their approved followers can see their tweets. Simply follow the instructions below:

1.

  • Sign in to Twitter
  • Click on your profile picture in the top right hand corner of your browser.
  • A drop down menu will then appear
  • Select the “settings” option.

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  • Next, select the “Security and privacy” option from the left hand menu

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  • A menu will then appear offering various security and privacy options.
  • In the privacy settings we recommend that your kids check the box that’s says: “Protect my Tweets”. This will ensure that strangers and future employers will not be able to see their tweets.

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  • We also recommend that they select the box titled “do not allow anyone to tag me in photos” or “only allow people I follow to tag me in photos”. This will ensure they aren’t tagged in any unwanted or upsetting photos by strangers.
  • To further protect their privacy you should un-check the box titled “Add a location to my tweets”. From this menu you’ll also be able to delete any past location information that twitter has stored about you.

Setting privacy settings on Facebook

1.

  • Sign into your Facebook account.
  • Select the downwards arrow in the top right hand corner.
  • A drop down menu will appear.
  • Select “Settings” from the menu.

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  • A new screen will appear.
  • In the left hand menu select the “privacy” option.
  • A screen will then appear to the right offering various Privacy options.

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  • For children we recommend working through the list and selecting the strictest privacy settings.
  • In the “who can see my stuff?” section select “edit” and ensure that “friends” is selected. This will ensure that only approved friends can see your posts.

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  • In this screen you can also select who can send your child friend requests. We recommend selecting “friends of Friends” for this.
  • We also recommend selecting “Strict Filtering” for messages. This means that messages from unconnected users will be filtered into your child’s ‘other’ inbox.
  • You can also select who can look you up using your email address & phone number, as well whether you want search engines to link to your timeline. We recommended selecting ‘no’ for this option.

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As parents we understand how difficult it can be to monitor your kids in the constantly changing world of social media. Hopefully this post has helped you make Facebook and Twitter a bit safer for your kids. With HomeHalo you’ll be able to limit social media use by setting time limits. You can also activate Homework Mode which lets your kids use the web for homework, whilst distractions like social media and gaming are blocked. To find out more about how HomeHalo can protect your kids’ online, click HERE.

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“Exam time – Do not disturb”

So for many of us in the UK, the long awaited February half term is over. Although the children have caught up with sleep, in many cases until lunchtime; the sibling rivalry has reached fever pitch and they are ready to go back to school; or so I would have thought.

Sunday, for our family, arrived with an air of panic about it, mainly because this year is GCSE year. The level of half term homework is at its highest with an average of 5 hours needed per day to complete and tweak coursework. Now, if you are lucky enough to have a teenager who writes up a revision plan and sticks to it, then lucky you! But for most us, our kids live by the philosophy of ‘I’ll do it later’ or ‘maybe tomorrow’, which in my house meant a scurry of activity including rewrites, printing and an immense amount of paint dribbles all over my dining room table! Who would have thought that a Fine Art GCSE could create such mess?

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As I casually looked though Facebook, I see that it’s not only my children.  I’m fortunate enough to be ‘friends’ with a lot of my children’s friends, ranging from those taking A levels and GSCEs to Year 9 exams.  Their weekend posts all seem have a similar theme. One I particularly liked was “Devoted most of my half term to Netflix! Not much coursework done… oops!” No doubt her parents were less than impressed!

My own children, (when finally getting out of bed) seem to have spent the week ‘device hopping’ – imagine the scene, my daughter is sat in an armchair with her laptop on her lap (doing homework) on one arm of the chair is her phone constantly bleeping with Instagram/Snapchat messages. On the other arm is her iPad mini showing some kind of make-up video…..needless to say when I’m offered the final proof reading of her English essay, it makes very little sense and has to be done again.

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So what can we do about this? Well, you can join our product tester programme which will put you firmly back in control. With HomeHalo you’ll be able to activate Homework Mode, which lets your kids use the internet for work, whilst distracting sites like Facebook and Twitter are blocked. As well as this you can limit the amount of time they spend on Netflix and block all the dodgy sites you wouldn’t want them to see anyway. It’s the easiest way to keep them focused over the all-important exam time.

You can do all of this and more for only £55! We’ll also provide 12 months service, which will see you safely through exam time, summer holidays and even Christmas. This really is a great opportunity to save some money, whilst getting peace of mind that your kids are safe online.

If you’re interested then give us a call or go to http://www.homehalo.co.uk/homehaloproducts

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