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Talk to EE about keeping your children safe online – HTC One handset up for grabs NOW CLOSED

(90 Posts)
KatieBMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 18-Nov-13 16:35:31

EE would like to know how Mumsnetters go about keeping their DCs safe online.

Here’s what EE have to say, “Like many things, digital living comes with certain risks if used inappropriately and it’s good to be aware of these risks. It's just as important to keep your child safe on their phone or computer, as it is in the 'real world'. We know our children are often ahead of us when it comes to tech knowledge. We aim to help you understand the issues so you can support them. That’s why we’ve got simple tips and advice that are easy to implement, so you can help your child enjoy using the internet and be safe at the same time.”

So, what do you know and do in the way of internet safety? Do you have parental controls installed on electronic devices at home? Or maybe you try to ensure that your younger children are supervised when browsing the web? What kind of online content do you try to monitor? Do you struggle to know what to do to keep your DCs safe online? Whatever your stance is on online safety, we’d love to hear about it!

Everyone who adds their thoughts to this thread will be entered into a prize draw to win a HTC One handset. For full T&Cs please click here.

Please note your comments may be used (anonymously of course) on EE's pages on MN, social media channels and possibly elsewhere.

Thanks and good luck,


Elibean Wed 20-Nov-13 09:47:38

We have filters on everything at home (dds 7 and 10). The girls have iPod Touches with the browsers removed, just for messages, games and music.

They also have access to computers and an iPad (with the filters on).

Their school has clear guidelines on only accessing the internet with adult supervision, and the recommendation is to follow the same guidelines at home - this helps hugely, as the dds know 'our' rules are in keeping with school's.

The school also sent home the basic safety rules they teach to all kids in ICT (kids helped create the rules, too) which again makes it easier to reinforce at home. The partnership aspect is great.

My main problem with the internet is YouTube...which we kept, as it's so useful. Impossible to avoid inappropriate ads, at the very least sad

With dd1 (nearly 10) we have talked a lot about what she may find online, what isn't appropriate and why it isn't good to watch. In terms of danger, she's very clued up - would never give out info, knows the difference between 'real' and 'cyber' friends: IN THEORY. I am not going to relax on this one until I know she knows the difference in practice, iyswim.

We've also talked about how images 'go in' and once they're 'in your head' it's very hard to get them 'out. So seeing upsetting/violent/rude pictures would not be a good thing.

But most of all - they know to talk to us about anything they see or experience as 'uh oh'. I think communication and trust are key.

FiveHoursSleep Wed 20-Nov-13 10:20:50

DD1 (y7) has just got her first smart phone.
We drew up a phone use contract which includes her not having it upstairs in her room, turning it off before 9pm every night, giving DH and I the password to her phone and the right to look at her browser history and texts at any time, and her agreeing not to use it to say mean things about anyone or to view or send inappropriate material.
We know she will make mistakes at some point and are prepared for that. It's a steep learning curve for us all and we have DD2 ( Y6) right behind, desperate to do it all again next year.

hench Wed 20-Nov-13 10:22:46

I used parental control and time of day filters and we used to have a single computer in family area. Now that we seem to have many more internet enabled devices (tablets, phones, laptops etc) it's all become more difficult.

CrewElla Wed 20-Nov-13 11:56:35

My eldest is only allowed to use apps that I've downloaded for him on my phone or ipad. As he gets older we will get him a leapfrog device that has the monitoring built in. We'll see what we put in place when he gets old enough to browse on his own, I expect things will change by then (what monitoring tools you can use).

supermariossister Wed 20-Nov-13 12:22:02

So far as they are all primary age they use devices in the same room as us. i do the app downloading on the tablet or my phone and so know what they are going on. that is all set to change soon and i am have been thinking about it. we talk about online safety - protecting information, not sharing details or opening things that we dont know what they are. just last month i opened an email on my smartphone which said invoice that i thought was for something i had purchased and it was a virus. they like to watch films on youtube of other people playing games and sometimes the language isnt appropriate even though they are for childrens games. We have filters on the laptop and am aware you can do this on the tablet i think it will be a case of keeping a close eye and open communication on it.

gleegeek Wed 20-Nov-13 13:23:55

Some great posts here. It's all quite scary tbh, especially for fairly computer illiterate parents like me!blush

Dh has put on parental controls on our pc and tablet. Dd(10) is only allowed to use them downstairs in a through room, so I can easily see what she's on. At the moment I'm most concerned about what she might see accidentally, she isn't that much of a technology addict so doesn't spend huge amounts of time online. But as she grows older and becomes more aware of it's potential, I think talking, advising and supporting rather than outright banning will probably be the way we go.

Kveta Wed 20-Nov-13 13:44:04

My DC are still young (1 and 4), and only the 4yo ever gets near the internet, and then only under supervision. I dread to think what life will be like in 10 years time though, as it seems normal now for teenagers to have their own smart phones and tablets - so who can tell what the future of internet access will be!

AnnaConda Wed 20-Nov-13 14:37:32

That's how I first discovered Mumsnet, by Googling for Internet safety advice.

I must admit Dh sorts all our Internet safety out.

I've had chats with teenage dc about being self-censoring and I do trust them to avoid looking at things that might slip through. Once or twice things have flashed up at me on screen unexpectedly and the images were pretty sleazy understatement

I'm glad there are political moves afoot for porn filters, and greater responsibility from website hosts.

ksld Wed 20-Nov-13 14:45:35

Primary age children here so at the moment we supervise computer use. Tablets have passwords but that's to stop them spending money rather than any protection. Eldest DS uses google to find games and to do his homework. Am aware should probably be looking into ways to protect him with filters. Biggest concern so far has been friends - one is very computer savvy and clearly not used to supervision, and has tried to download stuff we don't want on to our tablets. Other friends have no idea of online privacy and have user names that are their real life name and age which worries me.

Also would be worried that whatever I do to protect DS at home other parents are not doing at their homes - lots of DS's friends have their own tablets, and are often suggesting Youtube videos for DS to watch - so far all innocuous but it won't stay that way forever, and I can't protect DS from seeing stuff on others phones/tablets.

Bubbles85 Wed 20-Nov-13 17:18:42

We set up all the parental controls when ever we buy a piece of new equipment. That's about it for us!

GetKnitted Wed 20-Nov-13 22:23:07

I'm sure we've had this discussion before! no change here. DS1 (5) has access to cbeebies, cbbc and mathletics smile luckily we are prior the problems of own mobile phones etc.

Glitterfairys Thu 21-Nov-13 10:29:56

Internet access is supervised and my 9 year old knows about internet safety , I have told him and also his school has talked about it too. Both boys are allowed to play on apps I have downloaded which are suitable for them and my 3 year old ds loves CBeebies and looking at different pictures of Thomas the Tank engine smile

LifeofPo Thu 21-Nov-13 12:54:50

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

sassytheFIRST Thu 21-Nov-13 13:36:38

We do have parental controls installed on the kids' ipods (though doesn't restrict youtube, of course). They are also not allowed to use them in bedrooms/at night which gives us some control over what they are exposed to.

dd1 is 11. She has use of a v basic phone and has been promised her own in the summer, ready for the move to high school. We will get her one which phones, texts and has a bit of a camera but not a smartphone - she can have one of those when she's earned the money herself as by that time she'll be a bit more mature and hopefully better equipped to cope with the pitfalls as well as the benefits. As long as we pay for their devices/internet access we expect to be able to keep a close eye on their activities (including texts etc) - they know this and recognise that it is fair enough.

plum100 Thu 21-Nov-13 13:37:00

My dd's regularly go on the laptop and play cbeebies or binweevils. they are 9 and 6. 9 yr old also has a ipod which she can access youtube on - I believe that my dh set it for content under a certain age. She has unlimited access on her ipod and can use it wherever she likes.

Other than that we have nothing set up, reading everyone's posts has shocked me a bit - I didn't realise there were so many controls - certainly not only being able to use net in specific rooms.

I obviously need to find out more info but am reluctant to go into a shop incase Im sold lots of expensive stuff I don't need.

StrokeOfBadLuck Thu 21-Nov-13 16:58:39

Mine are now 12 and 14. They each have a laptop for doing homework, games etc and they must use this in the lounge. The older child has a phone that can access the internet on WiFi.

I was wondering whether I should check their texts, but DS (14) pointed out that everyone uses Whatsap (have I got that right?) so we wouldn't have a clue anyway. I think they're always one step ahead, so if they wanted to access porn, bully people etc, we wouldn't really know. After all, we don't know what they're exposed to on friends' phones.

By the time they reach secondary school, I think we are really dependent on them choosing to do the right thing, as there are so many opportunities to take the wrong path. I talk to them regularly. They're bound to make mistakes, and we can only hope it's nothing really serious. confused

On a positive note, when we discuss things, they do seem to be more sensible than I would have been.

Mnyoucleverboyandremember Thu 21-Nov-13 20:09:56

My two are at the age when they want to be on FB, kick etc. and I let them but we have a rule about me checking their accounts regularly and them being able to tell me exactly who each of their friends are. We have spoken about E safety and I know their school has covered it really well too.

Internet use takes place in the family living room.

I'm more concerned about when they are older so have already opened a dialogue about sexting, sharing photos, over-sharing private thoughts, etc. and will continue to nag them do so.

Mamafratelli Fri 22-Nov-13 10:08:34

I have all the parental controls set high on every device but I really struggle with YouTube. There are some fantastic things on there but then it's so easy for the kids to click on something unsuitable which means I have to either sit with them or ban YouTube completely.

Jesstryinghard Fri 22-Nov-13 10:19:03

Mine is only seven so has no unsupervised access so far

He has a tablet but I have not shown him how to go online he only
Plays games I have downloaded and I have spoken to him about not paying for add ons during games

When he is allowed access to the Internet I all have his dad install
All the filters possible to keep
Inappropriate content away from him ! I will also when he is younger make sure Internet access for him is in a communal space and not in his room

telsa Fri 22-Nov-13 13:39:29

I do not have any techno-fixes with mine aged 8 and 5. We have talked about the dangers of giving away information about yourself online. School has discussed cyberbullying. I keep a vague eye on what they are looking at online - they are rarely online, but seem to have discovered BBC iPlayer. I think it is best to keep chatting about stuff, rather than trying to find techno-fixes that get circumvented anyway.

NumptyNameChange Fri 22-Nov-13 15:24:16

for a start i can see no need for a young child to be 'browsing the web' supervised or otherwise.

my ds is nearly 7 and has never browsed the web. he plays games on a tab that does have web access but has no reason to be browsing. he doesn't go on my laptop.

we'll be getting a desktop for the first time this christmas and it will be in the living room and he won't be browsing the web then either. he wants the full minecraft so i'll put a shortcut icon on his desktop (separate account than mine with limited access) and he can click on that. if he wants anything else or to look at other stuff he'll have to ask me and be supervised.

he will also not be having a phone until it is really necessary and when he does it will be a basic one without web access (which he'll hate me for no doubt but i can take it wink ) and he won't be having internet access except on a desktop in shared space.

i just don't understand why people would let children have web access in private space - what could be the need? what is gained? it amazes me how naive parents can be in just dishing out devices and not supervising their use and it has a knock on effect on more responsible parents as they're seen as terrible meanies who won't let their kids do anything without realising that actually they're the ones whose parents can be bothered to protect them and put their wellbeing ahead of being popular and santa-like.

Alonglongway Sat 23-Nov-13 07:48:14

I have 16 and 13 year olds. My method is to make sure we discuss cases we hear of - they both know kids who have been caught up in difficult situations online, and we talk through different ways of handling these things. Also told them if they ever do anything stupid that gets them into problems, tell me and we'll solve it together. The power of the off button is another good one. Have a powerful desk top in the living room so there's less appeal for access via devices in bedrooms. And when they had blackberries, I actively discouraged BBM as that seemed to be the source of a load of hassle. And lots of positive use of the internet - the older one went to school online for a year and is now a film student and uses the internet heavily to support her studies. Younger one loves cooking and knitting and regularly uses youtube tutorials to learn new techniques

ThinkingWomansTrumpet Sat 23-Nov-13 09:04:07

I agree with numptynamechange's final paragraph, I think too many children have unfettered internet access as most devices have the capacity to link to the internet: games consoles, ipods, phones etc. I am conscious that my nearly 9 year old and his generation need to be tech savvy and let him have access to the family ipad and laptop, in the lounge. I am refusing to let him have anything he can call his own that connects to the internet, that he can smuggle out of my sight...the only exception is his ds but i have set the parental controls to keep it off the internet. Last year, i bought him an mp4 player that did videos, photos and music but has no wireless connection or messaging service. We can pre load You tube clips on to it at our discretion, the problem is it's not a high quality product. There appears to be a gap in the market here! i am tempted by the ipod touch but I don't want him to get into imessage just yet...there have been fall outs amongst his peers with in game messaging already and i don't want him to get involved at his age.
On the positive side, since infant school, both my children have been taught about the pitfalls of using the internet and I think establishing a dialogue about this early, as many posters have discussed, is crucial to making children understand they need to be careful. i think internet service providers and phone companies need to make information on parental controls much clearer and foreground them in their advertising, you often have to look very hard in the small print for tech devices, to work out how to set them up.

BanjoPlayingTiger Sat 23-Nov-13 10:10:37

My ds has a tablet now, but is not allowed to use it upstairs. To be honest I don't really know much about how to keep him safe online. I've talked to him about only looking at stuff he would be happy to look at with mum, and that not everything people say to him online is true. He knows not to give out personal information and always comes and asks me about things when he isn't sure, but it is something I really worry about.

knightonian Sat 23-Nov-13 10:22:44

In the last weeks we have seen great strides by internet search engines signing up to blocking pornographic "child" content from coming up.

I would like them to go steps further develop software to target those looking at give it freely to those law enforcement agencies we task with protecting us.

This way we could all sleep a little safer in our beds.

It's not rocket science and the search engines and internet providers hold the keys

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