Remember the #GoogleMoms event I blogged about yesterday? Well, this was also part of that event, and I thought it deserved it’s own little post.

This part of the talk included a lot of things that are just common sense, but I was interested in the way that Google presented it. Partly, because this is something that we need to speak to Bradley and Connor about regularly… but also because I don’t believe they’re getting enough information at school (I may be wrong here though). I believe that half the job in teaching kids about online safety is the manner in which it’s taught, and the type of person who delivers the message!

Google in South Africa has started an education thing at schools, and although they’re concentrating on more rural schools right now, I actually cannot wait for this type of talk to be more widely accessible. I would love the guys at Google to actually present this at my kids school… not only to the kids, but to parents.

Anyway, on to a bit of what was said yesterday…

There has been quite a bit of research done into how kids and young adults use the internet, and this is part of what they found:

1. The internet is not just used for chatting to friends, but it’s increasingly being used for research, and school projects etc.

2. More than half of young adults have adjusted their privacy settings, and are aware of how to protect themselves.

3. Making the age on a certain site restrictive does not stop kids from opening accounts. Kids will find ways to open accounts, and generally parents go along with it. Oh yes, I can relate to this… the age restriction of 13 on Facebook has not stopped many kids from gaining access!

4. You cannot stop kids from using the internet anymore, they need it. If you ban them from the internet, they’ll find ways to access it, and start using it without parental supervision and guidance.

In addition to digital literacy programmes that Google runs, there are few things they showed us about keeping kids safe that I need to share…

Safesearch

Go to Google, and search for something. On the right side of the results screen, you’ll see a wheel… if you press it, you’ll get to the settings panel. You’ll see an option for Safe Search.

Once you’ve enabled Safe Search, the kids will not be able to get explicit results from Google. However, if they try, they’ll be able to turn it off when they hunt for the settings. So Google has an option to lock the Safe Search using your Google password. To find the lock, press the wheel again, and go to “Search Settings”, there you’ll find the option below which allows you to lock it!

YouTube safety mode

The above helps for Google, but we all know how much kids like browsing YouTube… so YT has a similar feature. If you open YT, and scroll to the bottom of the page, you’ll see the safety toggle… and that also gives you similar locking abilities.

So now, I’m going to be finding those settings on Bradley’s phone too!!

Family Safety site

Did you know that Google has a website explaining about how to keep your family safe online? I didn’t! You can find it at http://google.co.za/familysafety

It has a huge amount of information and tutorials explaining how the safety things I’ve mentioned above work… as well as so much more. It’s really worthwhile going to have a read.

and last but not least, they shared their top 5 tips to keep your children safe online

  1. Keep computers in a central place. This will make it easier to keep an eye on your children’s activities
  2. Know where your children go online, and help them navigate safely, the web is the new playground
  3. Flag inappropriate content and report abuse
  4. Protect passwords. Dont’ use your birthday and don’t save them in a public space.
  5. Limit your contact with people you meet online. Don’t talk to strangers!

This is a minefield for parents actually with the amount of cyber bullying going on, as well as other scary things that take place online. Any bit of information that parents can get, that’s easy to implement and explain to their kids is so very welcome.

I really enjoyed the talk, and a huge thanks to Google for inviting me!