The best way to keep kids cyber-safe as they head back to school

The best way to keep kids cyber-safe as they head back to school
Photo credit: Getty Images

It's so easy for kids to get on the internet these days, whether via the smartphone in their pocket, a friend's phone, mum's tablet or a computer at school. Technology provides wonderful opportunities for learning, but it also opens children up to a lot of risk.

Without the proper restrictions and security software in place our children are just a click away from dangers like inappropriate content, bullying and malicious software. The techniques used by cyber criminals to obtain personal information have become increasingly sophisticated and even tech-savvy adults can easily fall victim to them. 

Whether you want to simply understand more about the current risks, help setting up the best software, timers on the internet at home for specific devices, and precautions to protect your family both at home and at school, Noel Leeming's Tech Solutions team is here to help. 

As we gear up for kids to head back to the first term, many parents are buying new tech items to help with the school year. It's a great idea to invest in a Noel Leeming tech specialist like Toby Foreland to pop over to your place and lend their expertise after the school has loaded up their specific programmes.

"Once a specialist has set the device to work with the child, we do a training session to help you get the most out of what you got. We also can set other devices like tablets and phones to disconnect at specific times from the Wi-Fi to ensure no distractions late at night," he says.

"Whatever it is - networking equipment or a laptop or tablet - there's time in that session for you to talk about your situation and specific needs around internet safety and security. It's so much easier than reading through all the manuals and websites yourself, so customers find that very valuable."

There is plenty of anti-virus software to choose from and Noel Leeming Tech Solutions can give you up-to-the-minute advice on which is the best option for your family. The big brands like Trend Micro and Norton include parental controls at no additional cost, giving you great control and a thorough understanding of how the internet is being used in your home.

But digital tools can only go so far in keeping your kids safe online - the tech specialist will also give you the knowledge you need to teach your children about how they can protect themselves.

"Education is the strongest arrow in the parental control quiver," says Foreland. 

The best way to keep kids cyber-safe as they head back to school
Photo credit: Getty Images

A lot of online activity includes voice chat options that allow us to easily connect with strangers. This opens kids up to cyberbullying and private information being coerced out of them in a way that's difficult to block with digital tools - unless you stop them chatting altogether, which isn't a good option for a lot of families.

A Noel Leeming tech specialist can explain to a parent how to teach their child about information safety, making sure they know what to be careful of when chatting online. This knowledge can be used alongside the digital tools as a multi-pronged approach to cyber safety.

And after that set-up and training session, the help doesn't stop. Customers get access to further support whenever they need it, and it's just a phone call away.

"At Noel Leeming we have our own Tech Solutions helpdesk and the people you'll talk to are really up to speed with networking, parental safety and control," says Foreland.

"When you buy anything from us, you get free access to that helpdesk for a year, up to 30 minutes per phone call. You might have someone come out and install something, but then a few months down the line you have some questions about some security stuff, that helpdesk is there for you to just give them a buzz."

As well as controlling what sort of content your kids can access online, monitoring what they are doing on the internet and teaching them how to not to fall victim to cyber criminals using things like voice chat, you may also want to ensure they're simply not on their devices too much.

Screen time monitoring and control is a fairly new tool that's gaining a lot of popularity. Companies like Apple and Microsoft continue to improve these family apps, letting parents allocate different amounts of time for each different device, with varying amounts for each day of the week.

"We can help set all that up for you and make sure you're getting the most out of it," says Foreland.

For most families, their children's future is the most important investment they can make. Getting expertise from a Noel Leeming Tech Solutions specialist is the simplest and best way to ensure your young one has as safe and productive a 2021 as possible.

This article was created for Noel Leeming.