Tips For A Safe Internet For Kids

boy surfing on webChildren and young people find surfing the net exciting and who would blame them? Like adults, children like to discover new sites, eager to learn and without a raised index finger. Parents can do a lot to protect children and their safety while surfing.

In order to enjoy the pleasures of surfing the net undamaged, it is important that parents take a few precautions – very similar to what they do in the real world when the child takes its first independent steps. Agreeing rules with the children and starting online together is a good start. Just as parents know their children’s friends and interests and the places where they spend time, they should also be aware of their children’s surfing habits, choose child-friendly offers and use technical protective functions. The attentive accompaniment of parents and their interest in the children’s experiences on the net create the trust that children need in order to be able to report on their experiences and gradually acquire their own media skills. Because understanding and trust are better than prohibiting.

Technical aids, such as the activation of security settings and the installation of youth protection programs, can support this active media education. In addition to the risks that can arise if children carelessly disclose personal information, the negative side effects include frightening or inadmissible content – violence, pornography, extremism, but also cyber bullying. On the other hand, the Internet is a source of information of all kinds – one click and the Brazilian rainforest appears, cartoon characters compete, wolves lace through a snow-covered landscape. The whole world on screen – no wonder children are fascinated by the Internet.

Tips for more Safety

Starting together

Even preschool children are already curious about the world of networks, and with the right offer there is nothing against a joint voyage of discovery. Websites suitable for children, which are intuitively structured, free of advertising and with which children can learn playfully, offer good opportunities to discover the net.

The Elephant Side

He is known from the show with the mouse: The little blue elephant. With the elephant page, WDR offers computer beginners many games of skill, tricky puzzles, selected film contributions and handicraft offers.

The site is suitable for children from 4 years.

If the child is already proficient in surfing, can read and write well and knows important safety rules, it can also take its first independent steps on the Internet. However, this still requires the attentive accompaniment of the parents. Parents should be around until around the twelfth birthday when the children are surfing. Downloads and registrations are made by the parents!

Older children and teenagers can already move more independently on the Internet and need a larger play area for it. But the parents are still available as contact persons for questions and problems.

Creative, instructive and ad-free sites on the Internet, designed for children and pedagogically tested or accompanied, can be found here:

Agree on Rules

It is important that parents talk to their child about the risks of surfing and agree together which services they can use on the Internet, for how long and how often. These rules can also be laid down in writing. Parents will find good tools for this at and

Determine Surfing Times

Fixed surfing times ensure that other interests are not neglected. A limit of ten minutes per year of life per day or one hour per year of life per week of the media time is used as an orientation for the screen time. For children over ten years of age, the weekly quota is ideal, which children can increasingly divide up independently, similar to pocket money. The quota is limited to leisure media use and not if the child learns with media.

Securing Devices directly

It is advisable to set up a separate account for the new generation using the computer’s operating system and to restrict functions such as the installation of programs or content according to age. Mobile devices also offer possibilities to restrict Internet access. Parents can use time limitation if agreements are not kept or at the latest if other areas of life are neglected. The installation of programs or the performance of downloads is the responsibility of the parents of children up to the age of twelve. Depending on the operating system (iOS or Android), there are various setting options.

Adapt technical Protection of Minors

There is currently only one youth protection program recommended by the Commission for the Protection of Minors in the Media (KJM): „JusProg“. Youth protection programmes sort out unsuitable websites on the basis of technical filters or only allow tested websites. Parents are well advised to check their settings regularly, adapt them to their age and block access with a secure password. All these measures do not completely protect against inappropriate content. They supplement, but do not replace, attentive media education by parents.

Protecting data

Parents should sensitize their child to the careful handling of personal data. Unconsidered data given during registration or for competitions can be used for advertising purposes or by strangers to contact the children.

As a general rule, personal data such as name, telephone and mobile phone number, address, date of birth, but also pictures, videos, passwords and data in social networks (e.g. locations) or Messenger IDs can be used: less is more.

It is best for parents to set up an e-mail address or profile together with their child and check the terms and conditions and privacy policy before registering to see what the data is used for and whether the service is age-appropriate at all. In addition, parents can explain to their child that it leaves traces while surfing. Parents should reduce this by making settings in the browser. A user name and a secure password should not contain any reference to personal data. A secure password also consists of a mix of upper and lower case letters, numbers and special characters. Passwords should not be stored anywhere and should always be kept secret, and should only be used for one user account at a time.

Observe Copyrights

It is important that parents also inform themselves about the legal situation with streaming and downloads and discuss with their child what is legal on the net and what is not. While uploading and downloading copyrighted content on file sharing networks is illegal, streaming copyrighted material is in a legal grey area, as the content is only temporarily stored and its use is similar to television. Online video libraries are to be closed age-appropriately, dubious sides without imprint to block, since they often refer to pirate copies.

In addition, unsuitable content, cost and data traps as well as security risks, such as viruses and other malware, which can be transmitted even without installation, lurk here. It is better to show the child suitable media libraries where he or she can watch videos safely.

Helpful further Sources: