Seven ways to protect your child’s privacy online
Over the past two decades, debates about online safety have played catch-up as internet technologies have transformed our lives. More now than ever, the struggle to shape the experiences children and young people have online has become part of modern parenthood.
Today children and teenagers are spending increasing amounts of time online, with habits reinforced during the pandemic, whether using the internet for remote learning or to stay connected with friends in the absence of in-person interactions.
Parents and carers are increasingly being advised of the risks that might arise from online content and interactions, but it’s easy to forget that we also need to protect children’s privacy as well.
As we mark Safer Internet Day, Tuesday 8 February 2022, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute, Associate Professor and Senior Policy Fellow, Dr Victoria Nash, shares her top tips for parents and carers on how to protect their child’s privacy, a key factor in ensuring safe and positive experiences online.
1. Check their social media privacy settings
On some social media platforms, privacy settings are not enabled as standard. These can include features such as location trackers.
2. Understand the potential privacy risks in your home
Remember, devices with AI assistants like Alexa and internet-connected toys gather data on your use of the product. Be mindful when setting them up and ensure you check their privacy settings.
3. Make your child aware of internet data and privacy
Have a conversation with your child about their data online. Endure your child understands where their information is going and how it could be used.
4. Remind your child of the risks of free public Wi-Fi networks
Using free public Wi-Fi networks can leave you at risk of your personal information being stolen, risk of malware attacking your device and the potential for hackers to snoop on your device activity
5. It’s hard to remove content online
Deleting an image or video from the internet doesn’t necessarily mean it is gone. The content could still be viewable via an archive website, or someone may have screenshotted it.
6. Regularly check in to see what your kids are doing online
Having an overview of how your child is using the internet can give an idea of potential privacy issues you may need to explain to them
7. Think about what you post online about your child
Unknowingly, parents can reveal personal information about their children such as the school they attend or places they visit a lot. Also, be mindful of who can see the photos/videos you share of your children online.
Watch our top tips video.
Watch Professor Nash deliver the OII London Lecture sharing her insights on internet-connected technologies, such as home assistants and smart toys, and how we keep children safe and secure in the face of such developments, and the impact of the data economy on children and parenting.
Read her co-authored report, ‘Child Protection and Freedom of Expression Online’ with observations on how different advocates can work together in building policy in this vital area.