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Keep children safe online: NCC tips on using parental controls [III]

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NCC

The Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) in partnership with the Cece Yara Foundation, has continued to educate parents and caregivers on how to keep children safe online.

The duo, in this edition, have identified that during non-school hours at home it is important to establish time limits around when and for how long your child can be online.

Also use the available technologies — parental controls and tools to monitor online time allow you to measure and set time limits on device use or internet access. Be honest and open about why you want to use these technologies.

You can turn off notifications for social media apps to help minimize distractions.

Depending on your child’s age, you can establish a family tech agreement that balances time spent in front of screens with offline activities. You can find templates by searching online.

Include ‘offline’ activities in your routine at home — this can include family exercise, reading time or board games.

More importantly, model good behaviour in your use of media and digital devices Generally, children will imitate what they see in the influencers around them.

Hence, parents and cares must take active steps to ensure that they set the ideal example for online behaviour, that children can follow.

We (NCC and Cece Yara Foundation) suggest some tips below:

  • Set a time to your own media usage

Where you use media or devices heavily due to work, it is important to explain this to children so they understand

Avoid forwarding content to your children that you have not verified   Share lessons with children about other adults who have lost out of opportunities due to their online activities

  • Use parental controls and safe search options:

Parental controls are software tools that allow you to monitor and limit what your child sees and does online. They can be used to filter harmful content, such as ‘adult’ or sexual material, and to monitor, time-limit or block your child’s use of connected devices and functions such as cameras.

While parental controls can be effective tools to help control and limit what your child does online, they are not foolproof.

There is no substitute for active parental engagement and oversight of a child’s online activities.

Helping your child build good online safety habits is just as important.

How do I use parental controls?

  1. Check if your wi-fi router has software that allows you to set up parental controls across your whole family wi-fi network. Search online for reputable child-friendly wi-fi products using terms like ‘child friendly routers’, ‘child friendly wi-fi’, ‘family friendly routers’ and ‘child safe wifi’.
  2. Check out the parental controls available on most tablets, smartphones, computers, TVs and gaming consoles. Look at: Windows, Mac OS, Apple (from iOS12), Android using Google Play or Google Family Link.
  3. Use the PIN code locking feature on smart TVs or disconnecting the TV from the internet if you are not using the ‘smart’ features.
  4. Use parental controls to limit your child’s cellular/mobile data usage.
  5. Use the parental control measures on streaming services and gaming consoles to help manage gaming activity. Search for the streaming service or console name and ‘parental controls’ to see your options.
  6. Download or purchase family safety controls or filters. To find a filter that is right for you, search online using terms like ‘internet filters’ or ‘family filters’ and check out its reviews.
  7. Set up child-friendly search engines or select safe search settings on digital devices to help prevent your child from stumbling across inappropriate sites and content.

… To be continued

You can contact NCC via Toll Free Line: 622 or Cece Yara Foundation: 08008008001(for children, toll free) or 07007007001 (for adults, non toll free).