Internet Safety for Nannies and Parents

November 22 2016

As a parent or a nanny in London, it may feel like the most pressing dangers for our children are those associated with a big city: traffic, masses of people and pollution. But, we are also plugged into a virtual world via our phones, tablets and laptops. This virtual world is easier for older people to navigate – most of us are able to disregard what we see online. For children, this is more difficult. Some children can be confused, hurt or distressed by what they stumble upon. Here are some helpful tips to help your child stay safe when using a device.

Screen Time

Many au pairs, nannies and parents find it difficult to curb screen time. What is the difference between a book and an e-book? Where do you draw the line? It may be useful to understand the risks. Did you know that there is such a thing as ‘screen novelty’ that releases dopamine and can therefore become addictive? (read more)

Giving children a certain ‘allowance’ of screen time may be useful. Stick to your rules and enforcing them will be easier. Try to avoid giving your child an electronic device for as long as possible: it is hard to limit the use of something that has been given to them.

Another tactic is collective screen time. Play on Pottermore together, watch a programme you all enjoy or explore the British Museum. (read more)

Distressing News

The year 2016 has presented us with wave after wave of distressing news items. Compounded with constant Internet access, the world’s events are in ever-closer proximity to our day-to-day lives. Bad news is impossible to escape. Given that this development has affected many adults, is it any wonder that children are also affected? (read more)

A positive way of combatting anxiety in children is to engage with them. Ask how it makes them feel. Reassure them. Think of some positive ways that they can make a difference, be it a bake sale in aid of a charity or donating food to a food bank. Try to relieve a sense of helplessness by being proactive.

Kid’s Settings

Many smart phones have safety settings to ensure that children are not exposed to harmful content. Investigate what options are available to you. Conveniently, newer iphones only unlock when activated by a fingerprint.

Similarly, Internet providers have safety features that you can set as you wish. For example, blocking all adult content during daylight hours is an easy solution. There are also many useful pieces of software that have been developed to put your mind at ease (read more).

Staying Informed

Awareness of Internet safety is an excellent way of keeping children safe.

One useful resource is the UK Safer Internet Centre (read more), which includes information about cyber bullying and about how to protect children online.

Always take an interest in what the child in your care is looking at online.