Helping Your Kids Navigate Online

As more and more children are using digital devices, parents find themselves reaching out to other parents for tips and suggestions on the best way to approach the restrictions, helping to fill in the void of online information.

Go ahead and Google “online safety for kids” or “iPod Touch child safety.” There isn’t much out there. The content that is available took some real digging to find and is outdated — most of it from one or two years ago.

There is a real opportunity for key brands to help guide and offer support as parents go through the steps to protect their kids from the unknowns of the online world. Many brands are already serving as a go-to source, so why not consider expanding that and integrating more of a focus on this much-needed topic? Here are some suggestions:

  • A brand like Apple, for example, might consider a section within its site dedicated to parents with Q and A’s and a downloadable guide to help parents set up a new device for their child.
  • Online sites like Parenting.com should think about expanding and growing its tween section. This would not only help parents navigate through the tween drama years, but also support parents with online safety topics, an app and social media tools.
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics could partner with schools around the country to bring downloadable content to all parents with tips on providing a safe and secure online environment for kids. Bring in a company like Target, a brand that resonates with both parents and kids, to sponsor programs around the country.

If only there was a definitive guide that takes all of the information out there and compiles it into one easy-to-read article. In the meantime, here are five simple steps to safely set up your child’s iPod touch:

  1. Consider setting up an account with the “Family Sharing” feature.
  2. Enable restrictions and set up a password. Go to settings/general/restrictions. Within this section, you can scroll to “allowed content” and dictate which websites are viewable by your child, set levels for movie and TV content, apps (installing apps, deleting apps), music, and gaming.
  3. Disable in-app purchases. Too many people learn the hard way by having their child spend lots of money, then having to call their carrier to have charges reversed.
  4. Consider disabling the GPS feature. Having this feature on makes it easy for your child to broadcast their location.
  5. Set up approved contacts so your child is only able to text/call a select group of people.