Chances are if you’ve got children, they already know more about how to access the Internet than you do! The incredible explosion of mobile technology in recent years has put fully-enabled Internet in the pockets of teenagers and kids alike.
Young adults now can easily access the Internet and popular social networks such as Instagram and Tumblr from their smartphones, laptops, tablets, and televisions. Many of these “digital natives” learn how to text, download games, and post to social media sites before they even graduate from middle school.
But do you really know everything your kids are doing—and seeing—on all of their devices and screens every day? Is 24/7 Internet monitoring of all of their devices really possible?
If you struggle with the answers to these questions, you’re not alone.
Studies show that in the global stampede towards the “Internet of Things”—the rise of objects that connect to the Internet—it’s increasingly common for families to have access to several laptops, tablets, smartphones, and televisions with Internet access.
In fact, a recent survey conducted by McAfee found that 65 percent of consumers* now have three or more Internet-abled devices. And as any parent knows, a high percentage of them tend to find their way into the hands of tech-savvy children and teenagers.
According to one Pew survey,** 78 percent of 12- to 17-year-olds now have mobile phones, and 47 percent of those devices are smartphones.
*Source: February 24, 2012 News Release: Verizon, McAfee Expand Security Solution to Cover Smartphones and Tablets http://www.mcafee.com/us/about/news/2014/q1/20140224-02.aspx
** PewResearch Internet Project: Teens and Technology 2013 http://www.pewinternet.org/2013/03/13/teens-and-technology-2013/
As children gain unprecedented access to websites and social networks that are beyond the reach of adults, parents need to employ effective tools to keep them safe from inappropriate content and Internet threats.
But it’s not enough for parents to provide their kids with fast, reliable Internet service for all their devices. They also need to employ comprehensive security solutions for all of their Internet-abled devices—from tablets to smartphones to televisions.
The good news is that you don’t need to be a high-tech Internet guru to put a few common-sense guidelines in place. With a little time and effort and thoughtful deployment of the right technology, you can figure out how to set up parental controls to keep your kids safer.
All of our Verizon FiOS plans offer a number of free protection features including firewalls, anti-virus programs, email spam blockers, and much more to protect everyone in your family from Internet threats.
If you’re already an existing Verizon FiOS customer, you can learn more about how using FiOS Parental Controls can help protect your family’s privacy here.
One of the best ways to begin setting up an effective parental control plan is by first compiling a list of all the Internet-enabled devices your family is currently using.
The National Consumer League recommends creating a technology “inventory” of your family’s electronic devices. It should include the following:
Tip: You can get more information on how Verizon FiOS makes it easy to stay safe online by viewing our Quick Answers video.
Once you’ve created a comprehensive list, you’ll be able to more easily see where you have security holes that may need to be addressed. Take a look at your services and devices, and ask yourself questions such as:
After you’ve identified your most vulnerable security risks, you’ll be ready to set up parental controls that work for your family.
At Verizon, we can help with state-of-the-art security products that eliminate threats from online offensive content, computer hackers, and digital predators. Our trained security specialists are always available to answer questions and provide recommendations with communication and security solutions that will meet your family’s needs.
Finally, even after you’ve put the proper safeguards in place, remember that no software can ever take the place of an engaged and involved parent.
Talk to your kids regularly about what they do online, discuss the risks that come with social media, and set rules and limits on their device usage. Remind them not to:
With the right combination of talk and technology, you can develop an online security plan that will allow your children to enjoy the best the Internet has to offer—while keeping them safer in their virtual worlds.