Keeping Your Young Child Safe Online

Over the years, websites and apps like YouTube and TikTok have skyrocketed in popularity, with many users being children. Because of this, many parents want to be sure their young children stay safe online.

Here are some tips to help keep your young child safe online.

1. Use parental controls

It’s a good idea to use parental controls on all internet-connected devices in your home wherever possible. YouTube has a Restricted Mode that takes away comments on videos, and doesn’t show videos that feature potentially mature content such as drugs and alcohol, profanity, and violence. Many parents also turn to third-party tools like as Net Nanny, which does things like send you alerts of online activity, manage your child’s screen time, and filters content in real time that isn’t appropriate for children.

2. Find child-friendly enertainment apps or websites to use instead

There are many sources of child-friendly entertainment online, including YouTube Kids, PBS Kids, and Cartoon Network, Disney, and more. Many of these sources have official apps you can download to help ensure your child is viewing content that’s made just for them by a trustworthy source.

3. Ensure your child is using age-appropriate messaging apps

In our interconnected world, your child may use messaging apps to chat with friends and family. However, messaging apps also come with their own safety and privacy risks. Try apps that are especially designed to keep kids safe while messaging, such as Messenger Kids and JusTalk Kids.

Conversely, popular messaging apps such as Snapchat and Discord are not ideal for young children as they encourage privacy sharing and contact between strangers, and don’t verify a child’s age when they sign up.

When navigating online safety with your young child, it’s important to be firm but compassionate. Explain to your child why it’s very important for them to stay safe online, and encourage them to ask you questions about the world around them before turning to YouTube, TikTok, or other places on the internet.

For more information about children and technology, read our article about screen time tips for young children.