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Children have the right to be safe online

The online world is an integral part of the lives of children and young people – as it is for adults. Children and young people have the right to be part of the digital society and keep in touch with their friends over the Internet.

They should learn media literacy and practice the safe use of the Internet together with their parents, even if the child is more tech-savvy than the adult.

Here are a few tips for safe Internet use:

1. Discuss things openly

When your child gets their first phone it’s important to agree on the rules for the use of the phone – particularly when on the Internet. It’s a good idea to tell your child that they should not chat with strangers online and they must never give their own name, photo or address to anyone. Also agree on which apps to install on the phone. Bookmark child-friendly sites on the browser favourites list. 

Encourage the child to tell you if they’re concerned about something they have encountered online. This will help the child to understand and deal with confusing things. If the child makes a mistake online, don’t make them feel guilty about it, but instead praise them for having the courage to speak up.

Don’t do anything behind the child’s back, such as tracking them with an app without their knowledge. Agree on GPS tracking together.

Talk with your child about why it’s a smart idea to limit the use of the Internet and smart phone, and to set aside time for playing, friends and family.

2. Explore together

Learn how to use different apps and play together. This will enable you as the parent to understand what your child is up to online. The child needs adult guidance and support when using a phone. You must also be there for them to listen and do things together.

Gaming also involves plenty of questions – such as which games are suitable and how much time should be spent gaming. Usually the best answer to these concerns is to learn about these games together with the child. Often, certain kinds of games are lumped together, and you may form an impression about them based on a single news item, but forget to talk about them with your resident gaming expert – that is, your child.

3. Protect the phone

Ensure information security together. Discuss what makes for a good password and how you should store it. Talk about how to best protect personal information and why one should think twice about what kinds of photos one shares in social media or on instant messaging services.

A variety of security apps will enable you to see which apps your child has installed on the device. You decide which apps to block or permit. You can also set time limits for accessing certain apps and prevent your child from accessing harmful apps, such as violent games. The DNA Turvapaketti security package also protects the child’s phone against malware and viruses. 

4. Intervene in inappropriate behaviour

Take a positive interest in the time your child spends online. If you do, your child will most likely find it easier to tell you if something bad happens online, such as bullying. Take screenshots of inappropriate behaviour as evidence. If necessary, inform the service administrator.

If you suspect that a crime has occurred, contact the police.