Protecting your children

We all want to be good parents

We all want to be good parents and raise our children as well as we can. We want to shelter them, keep them safe from harm and even expose them to disappointments in moderation so that they can grow up without worries, take their time to learn new skills, and form their own thoughts. Our duty as parents is to protect their childhood, give them the tools to advance in life, and help them to grow up into stable and understanding adults. That's what parenting is all about.

Our children grow up surrounded by technology. Households are full of devices connected to the Internet – some shared and some personal. For our children, technology is a normal part of their everyday life. They switch between devices, applications, and social media throughout the day without even noticing. For them, "digital life" is just "life".

Digital Parenting Practical Tips

Digital
Parenting Practical Tips

Digital Parenting Practical Tips

There is no digital parenting | Be active

1. There is no digital parenting

There is only parenting, regardless of the environment it happens in. You are the parent. Take control of things. It's not that difficult, just read on.

2. Be active

None of the rules you have learned so far will apply tomorrow. Your children are growing up in a digital world. They adopt new technology in an instant. They will know more about these technologies and trends than you. Accept it. Ask them for assistance. Be active and you'll learn a lot about their life, interests, hopes, dreams, and fears.

Digital Parenting Practical Tips

Give them tools | Be open and honest

3. Give them tools

Don't try to isolate your children from technology. You will not succeed anyway. Just take a moment to think how your children can access the Internet. It's a battle you cannot win. Give them tools for learning, exploring, being social and creative, but do it safely.

4. Be open and honest

Tell your children about the dangers, your worries, and the things you want them to stay away from. Children are smarter than we think. Also, they want to stay away from complicated and dangerous things. You can use yourself as an example. Do you really click every link? Do you browse unknown areas of the Internet without protection? Do you give your personal information to every single web site without thinking about it?

Digital Parenting Practical Tips

Don't spy | Talk

5. Don't spy

Remember that your children also have privacy. This is a complicated topic, as the level of privacy is expected to grow as your child grows. Respect your children and their privacy. Be open and transparent. Expect the same from your child.

6. Talk

No matter how many rules you agree on with your child, new and unexpected situations will occur. If you are open and active, your children will approach you with topics that puzzle them. Be ready to talk.

Digital Parenting Practical Tips

Agree on the boundaries | Make the rules visible

7. Agree on the boundaries

Explain what is allowed and what is not. Explain why. You cannot control your children all the time. You cannot create concrete barriers to prevent them from doing things. They can always go somewhere else to do it. Help them make the right decisions themselves.

8. Make the rules visible

Be systematic. Don't create rules at random. Write down the key rules and make them visible at all times. Your child is more likely to follow rules that are clear and always accessible.

Digital Parenting Practical Tips

Enforce the rules | It's never too late

9. Enforce the rules

There is no point in having rules if they are not enforced. Make sure your child understands the rules. Enforce the rules, for example by putting all devices on hold for a day. Fine-tune the rules if new challenges are identified.

10. It's never too late

We know these things may be complicated, but you have to be the parent. It's never too late to start guiding your children and agreeing on the rules.

Setting boundaries

As technology has already been integrated into our everyday life, we don't need to separate digital parenting from parenting. Digital life requires just the same kind of parenting as life in general. We have to guide our children, listen to their worries and concerns, set boundaries, agree on the rules, and occasionally enforce these rules.

Just like in the real world, where we need to teach our children to cross the street with caution, we need to teach them to navigate in the digital world. We cannot promise that this is easy, as in most cases, our children are more open to new technologies, trends, and ways of collaborating with their friends. However, this does not remove our responsibility – we still need to keep up with them and be parents. This page offers you some ideas to help you in that task.

Set clear rules for your child's digital life, write them down (or use our examples below), print them, and go through them with your child.

House rules for children under 6

  1. You are only allowed ____ hour(s) of screen time per day (recommendation is less than 2h)
  2. Use the Internet only under adult supervision
  3. Visit only the web pages agreed on with your parents
  4. Do not download, install, or buy anything online without your parents
  5. Immediately close web pages you don't like
  6. Use apps and play games that have been checked with your parents
  7. Do not create email accounts on your own – any child under 6 does not need one
  8. Social Media, chats, and forums are not for children under 6
  9. Never give your name, address, phone number, email address, passwords, or school name
  10. Tell an adult if something makes you uncomfortable, scared, or confused

House rules for 6-11 year-olds

  1. School before fun – do your homework first. You are allowed _____ hours of screen time per day, including the time needed for your homework. 
  2. On school nights, television, games consoles, PC, phones and tablets are closed by the agreed time.
  3. Use the Internet only under adult supervision and visit only the web sites agreed on with your parents.
  4. Do not download, install, or buy anything online without your parents.
  5. Tell an adult if something makes you uncomfortable, scared, or confused, and Immediately close web pages that you don't like.
  6. Create your first email account together with your parents. Your email address is personal information, so check with your parents before entering your email address to any service or giving it to anyone.
  7. Do not create social media accounts like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Pinterest etc. on your own.
  8. Using social media needs to be agreed on with your parents, and they need to be included as your friends so that they are able to guide you in using them safely.
  9. Never give your personal information to services or people. Personal information includes your name, pictures of yourself, your address, phone number, email address, passwords, school name, where you are at the moment or where you are going.
  10. Behave well online. Do not use mean or rude language.

House rules for 12-16 year-olds

  1. School before fun – do your homework first. You are allowed _____ hours of screen time per day, including the time needed for your homework.
  2. On school nights, television, games consoles, PC, phones and tablets are closed by the agreed time.
  3. Web content filtering keeps you away from nasty content on the Internet, but always remember to use the Internet wisely.
  4. Tell an adult if something makes you uncomfortable, scared, or confused, and immediately close web pages that you don't like.
  5. Discuss downloading, installing, and buying things online with your parents and agree on rules for it – do not do any of these things without agreed rules.
  6. Do not create social media accounts without your parents' permission. Use your accounts wisely. Include your parents as your "Friends" so that they can give you proper guidance in using the services.
  7. Never accept people you don't know as friends or otherwise respond to them.
  8. Never get together with someone you meet online.
  9. Never give your personal information to services or people. Personal information includes your name, pictures of yourself, your address, phone number, email address, passwords, school name, where you are at the moment or where you are going.
  10. Behave well when using email, texting with your phone, posting comments in social media etc.. Do not use mean or rude language.

F-Secure SAFE can help you in digital parenting

F-Secure SAFE has been designed for your entire household. It adapts to the different protection needs of small children, teens, and adults. You only need one security service for your family, as SAFE combines Internet security features with parental controls. Simply turn on parental control during installation and your children are automatically protected when they go online. F-Secure SAFE does not give you tools for spying on your children. Instead, we want to give you tools for parenting in the digital world regardless of your children's ages. See what we can offer you.

F-Secure SAFE features

SAFE browsing

SAFE browsing

Browsing time-limits

Browsing time-limits

Application control

Application control

Location services

Location services

Internet security

Internet security

F-Secure SAFE combines antivirus and internet security with parental control features making it ideal security product for your entire family. F-Secure SAFE – one protection for you and your family. Read more about F-Secure SAFE internet security features.

Safe browsing for children

F-Secure SAFE keeps your children on the safe side of the Internet. The reputation of web pages is silently checked in the background while your children browse the Internet. Access to bad or restricted sites is automatically blocked. The default settings prevent access to known harmful and phishing sites, and to sites containing adult and violent content. Customize the settings to better meet your values and protection needs. Explicit content is also filtered out of the search results. PC users can also enjoy the benefits of F-Secure search. F-Secure Search shows traffic light icons in the search results to indicate which sites are OK to access and which are not.

Keep device use in moderation

Children need to be active, to be outside in the fresh air, to run, play, and have fun. These are often forgotten as your children watch Netflix or Youtube, or play games on their phone or console. Unfortunately, we parents often cannot keep track of the time our children spend using various devices. F-Secure SAFE gives you the means to set time limits on using devices and apps. With these limits, you can make sure that your children do other things besides being glued to digital media. Remember to agree on the rules, and make them visible. Keep screen time in moderation.

Application control

Children are app-savvy. They install and use various apps for communication, recreation, and study – much more than we adults do. SAFE checks apps for any malicious code, and it also checks if the applications contain any other undesirable features, like extensive advertising. On Android, the Safe Applications feature allows you to check the permissions requested by installed apps. This helps in protecting your child's private data from being leaked by apps. Our Android application also provides application control, where any newly installed apps need to be authorized by you.

Physical safety

Our children spend most of the day out of our sight. We send them off to school in the morning, they come home alone during the afternoon, they go out to play with their friends, and take part in sporting activities and other hobbies. We expect to know where they are at any given moment, and we expect them to respond to our calls at least on the second attempt. Naturally we worry about the Internet, but at the end of the day, our children's physical safety is what worries us the most. To ease at least some of this worry, F-Secure SAFE supports location services on Android devices. You can simply log in to My F‑Secure portal and get the location of your child on a map. Just select a device, and make your digital parenting easier.

Here is how you can set up F-Secure SAFE to help you protect your child