Did your kids get a new phone or tablet for Christmas? Here’s how to help them stay safer online
Guest blog by Tom Gaffney, technical director at F-Secure
A recent survey found that children own up to six devices by the time they reach 13. Only one in five didn’t ask for a device this Christmas. With this in mind, there will be a lot of children waking up today, excited to explore their new toy.
While the kids are excited, parents are often a bit more concerned about the practicalities of them owning something which connects to the internet and all the potentially damaging content that is out there. It is crucial to protect your children and it’s easily done. But what does this mean? Here we look at how to make sure your kids are safe when they are online, whether they are doing homework, gaming or just browsing.
As a parent, there are two dangers you need to be vigilant to – viruses and unsuitable content. Setting up security measures on your children’s devices should be your first port of call. This will mean their devices will be protected from viruses and parental controls will be in place to make sure they don’t stumble upon adult content or spend time on social media networks when they should be doing homework.
Talking to your child is the first step towards good online security. Security software is there to assist you in protecting your family online, but they still need to be vigilant to the fact that the Internet has bad people, just like the real world.
Here are our tips to keep your child safe online with their new device:
• Set appropriate access – Parental Controls allow you to block any unwanted websites (e.g. adult content, violent gaming and suicide sites) on their PC/laptop and smartphone. You can also set up a password so your child must ask you for permission before downloading apps which could cost you money. One particularly good feature is that parental controls can set up homework time on your child’s device. This means that, for example, between 4-6pm they won’t be able to access any websites which are not educational, so no wasting time when they should be working!
• Security software is a must – install up-to-date security software onto your children’s devices. This includes their smartphones. This will save you having to deal with their tears when their new toy gets infected and they lose everything on it. It also protects your investment. TalkTalk Mobile offers a free app to customers called MobileSafe, powered by F-Secure, which includes virus protection, parental control, anti-theft features and more, along with its network-level security and parental control service HomeSafe, and the Super Safe Boost, offering extra virus protection. For more information click here.
• Stranger danger – Teach your children about the risk of talking to people they don’t know on the Internet. Let them know to tell you if they are worried about anything at all, including cyber bullying. Regular and open conversation is the best way to keep an eye on your child’s online life. You may not understand the latest app they and their friends are obsessed with, but ask about it. They won’t share with you if they think you are not interested.
• Encourage them to be social but safe – Many kids are tech-savvy, so acknowledge and encourage it, but remind your children not to share any private information on Facebook, Twitter and the like. Often, the privacy settings on these sites can be confusing, so check their accounts regularly to ensure they are not open to the public. Facebook users may find this free service by F-Secure useful. It will test your profile to let you know what is open to the public and how to change anything which is.
Dido Harding, CEO, TalkTalk Group PLC Dido Harding is CEO of TalkTalk Group PLC and is responsible for all TalkTalk group operations including TalkTalk, TalkTalk Technology and our business-to-business division TalkTalk Business. Dido joined TalkTalk in 2010 and has previously held a variety of senior roles at Tesco and Sainsbury’s.
Tristia is Managing Director of the Consumer division at TalkTalk. Having joined The Carphone Warehouse in 2000 to set up the company’s PR and Communications division, Tristia became Head of Marketing the following year and UK Marketing Director in September 2003.
In January 2005, she was appointed Group Marketing Director with overall responsibility for CPW, AOL and TalkTalk brands and, in July 2008, Tristia became Chief Marketing Officer for Best Buy Europe following the creation of a new European consumer electronics company in a joint venture with Best Buy Inc. Tristia is also a Trustee at Comic Relief and national charity Ambitious about Autism.
Dan joined TalkTalk from O2 where he was the Head Of Direct Trading for the UK business, responsible for the sales performance of the retail, online and voice channels. Dan has extensive knowledge and experience of the UK mobile telecoms market. He was with O2 for over nine years where he held a number of senior commercial and finance roles including Head Of Retail Commercial Planning and Head Of Consumer Finance. Prior to O2, he worked for other major telecoms companies including BT and WorldCom.
Head of External Communications, TalkTalk 80 posts
Alex Birtles, Head of External Comms. Alex joined TalkTalk in 2010 and is responsible for PR, public affairs and corporate social responsibility across the group. She sits on the Operating Board of Go ON UK, the charity which aims to make the UK the most digitally skilled nation in the world, and is a member of the Government's UK Council for Child Internet Safety. Alex is a huge enthusiast for the power of digital to do social good.
Charles is the Managing Director at TalkTalk Business, reporting to Dido Harding, CEO of TalkTalk. Charles’ career started in the IT Industry 22 years ago with IBM in Australia, beginning as an Engineer with the role of designing and building the first PC networks. From there he has had a number of exciting, yet challenging roles across Asia Pacific, including Project Management, Sales and Senior Leadership – spending the last 3 years here with IBM in the UK before joining TalkTalk in 2011.
In 1989 Charles Dunstone founded The Carphone Warehouse and in 2003 launched TalkTalk , the home phone and broadband company. The introduction of free broadband in 2006 changed the market for ever and meant that people across the UK enjoyed Internet access at lower prices.
Gary joined TalkTalk in 2012 and is responsible for technology across the group. He has more than 20 years experience working in the UK and internationally, designing and implementing systems for companies such as AOL, Vodafone, BT, O2, Aircell, Telstra.
Nigel Sullivan joined TalkTalk as Group HR Director in November 2010 and is responsible for HR Shared Services across the TalkTalk Group, as well as Talent & Resourcing, Employee Engagement & Communications, Property & Facilities Management and Business Insurance. Nigel has played a pivotal role in the successful restructure of the business, as well as transforming HR and People Services, and harmonising employee contracts and benefits. Before TalkTalk, Nigel was Group HR Director and a Board Member of Wincanton Plc. and has held senior HR roles in the telecommunications and automotive sectors. Nigel is also a Non-Executive Board Director for the Royal United Hospitals NHS FoundationTrust, Bath.
At TalkTalk, Olivia is responsible for brand campaigns, direct marketing and consumer insight. Olivia was previously at McKinsey & Co., where she spent five years advising on marketing and strategy issues for leading global companies in the consumer, retail, and telecoms sectors.