How To Keep Kids Safe Online in 2020

Setting Up Parental Controls

You don’t need to be an internet expert to help keep your child safe online. Take a few simple steps to install some parental controls and you can support your child as they learn to use the internet and technology safely and responsibly.

Benefit from the guides, tips, and tricks, that will help supervise and manage how your child uses a tablet, phone or computer. Set up some key parental controls that can protect your child from inappropriate content, limit the access they have during certain times, or stop them from making purchases without your permission.


Gone are the days when the whole family would be fighting over the desktop computer. These days every member of the family has one or more devices of their own where they can make use of the internet at home or on the go.

mobile phone hat girl

Particularly with mobile devices like phones and tablets, take a look at the location settings to check what information your child’s device is sharing. Device manufacturers and mobile providers will have simple guides to set up specific permissions and controls.

Tablets and phones also have simple tools to limit the amount of time spent online. Check for “Downtime” settings on Apple products, or look into the time and app limits on Android and other devices. 

Home Internet Usage

Ask your internet provider about creating a filter so that inappropriate content cannot be accessed through your wifi or broadband. With this filter, any device using your internet connection will not be able to access websites that are deemed unsuitable.

Make sure your child is using the internet through a wifi connection and not using 3G, 4G or 5G. You can usually check this by looking for the icon of the expanding signal in the bar at the top of the screen.

Fur further information about setting up filters, speak to your provider or ask the experts at the NSPCC Advice Line on 0808 800 5002.


Most modern games consoles will offer players the opportunity to play online and chat with other players across their networks. As these are often worldwide networks, it is important to decide what kind of access to grant your child.

Most consoles will allow you to create different profiles for different family members. Set one up specifically for your children that has the appropriate controls set, rather than letting them play on your login. Take a look in network settings for each profile to set which information is public and what you can disable.

playstation network store online blue games console

For each profile, you can set different capabilities including:

  • Being able to play online levels
  • Being able to use chat functions with friends
  • Being able to use chat functions with all online users
  • Publish information like name, avatar and in-game achievements
  • Make purchases in online stores

Children often don’t realise that their in-app purchases cost real money, and parents can get left with hefty bills. Head to the manufacturer’s website like PlayStation, Xbox or Nintendo for more information about online gaming. 

Entertainment and Subscriptions

To ensure that your child does not see upsetting or inappropriate content online, you can set up different parental controls with each service.

Before allowing your child to use the internet unsupervised, take some time to explore how they’ll be using it. Ask them to show you around their most frequently visited websites and you can decide together what content is suitable for them.

Spend some time researching and discover the settings and controls offered by each streaming service. TV packages like Virgin, Sky and NOW TV can easily be set to require a password to watch certain films and TV shows. SmartTV Apps like Youtube, BBC iPlayer and Netflix can create personal profiles and tailor the content available to each viewer.

netflix manage profiles

With different profiles, you can create filters that only allow your child to watch age-appropriate shows. This stops your child from watching something unsettling for them and also stops you from losing your place in your latest Netflix or iPlayer binge. Win-win.

You’ll need to create a separate account for iPlayer and Youtube, but on Netflix, you can add up to 4 additional profiles on one account and change the settings for each one.

Search Engines

Search engines in 2020 are much better at screening for inappropriate content than they used to be. However, even the most innocent of searches can sometimes provide results that are not suitable for children.

When using Google, select “Turn On Safe Search” in the settings to ensure no illicit content shows up in the results.

google safe search settings how to guide

There are also some search engines that cater specifically to kids by providing safe searches with a higher level of filtering. These are trusted resources often powered by large search engines like Google or Yahoo. Take a look at Safe Search Kids here.

Social Media and Apps

It can be hard to keep track of all the different trends and popular apps that young people use. Some are to send messages to each other, store personal information, and others are purely for having fun with games etc.

Take a look at the settings in each app and make sure it is only storing the information you want it to. Make sure to turn off location settings and other notifications if you don’t think they’re necessary.

Tutorful has some great advice about keeping your child safe in our “Parent’s Guide To Instagram”. A lot of this information is also relevant to other social media platforms and can help you better understand the ways your child is using social media.

iphone instagram social media app

Visit Net Aware for further advice on setting up parental controls on popular apps. If you’re an O2 customer, you can also go in-store and ask for advice from a Guru about keeping your child safe when online.

Don’t forget to talk with your child about internet safety. It is one thing to add parental controls, filters, and settings, but having an open and honest conversation about being safe online will allow you to learn together and trust in their usage of devices and technology. 

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