collaborative guest post
Navigating the minefield of internet safety can be an overwhelming task. We all appreciate that there are risks involved in being online – both for us as parents and for our children – however the sheer amount of information available to us can result in what’s deemed as ‘security fatigue’. In other words, we know there’s a lot we should implement, but we just don’t know where to start and feel exhausted by the length of the to-do list.
Understandably, parents get overwhelmed and paralysed by the complexity of it all, resulting in no protection at all. Schools do their best at offering once-per-year presentations. However often we are just bombarded with alarming stories for an hour, so we leave scared witless at the indulgent descriptions of everything from online grooming to horrible cyber-bullying tales. So we return home with more questions than answers and limited outlets to get practical expert advice.
SimpleCyberLife.com is the world’s first internet safety membership site, offering convenient, educational and practical advice for parents looking to foster healthy and happy technology usage in the family home.
The unique site offers a wide range of interactive resources on a variety of internet safety topics affecting families including cyberbullying, sextortion, identity theft and parental controls. There’s even a community forum where parents can pitch questions direct to experts.
This brand new tool is already garnering interest for its unique and educational take on providing parents with the support they need for keeping their children safe online – and the founder Jonny Pelter even appeared on BBC News earlier this month to talk about SimpleCyberLife.com and online safety for children!
So how do you get started on SimpleCyberLife.com?
Of course, each family will have slightly different security needs, depending on the ages of their children and the devices they have in the home – which is why to make it even less daunting – SimpleCyberLife.com have a short one-minute quiz for potential members to complete, to help them decipher what their internet safety priorities should be. Once you’ve outlined what these are, you can choose your membership option.
There are three levels of membership:
Free – for those proactive computer whizzes who need minimal help and direction in getting everything in place.
Premium – Most of us aren’t the next Steve Jobs and need a little help getting everything in place. This is what the Premium membership option is for, with plenty of help, support and guidance along the way. This is £3.99 per month – less than the price of a coffee, in many cases!
VIP – You not only get access to absolutely everything but you also get dedicated personal time with your own cyber security expert. This option is £14.99 per month and great if you’re currently experiencing internet safety issues. The team of experts will work with you to give you practical solutions and support.
Once you’ve signed up as a member, you have access to the very many incredible resources on the site. Depending on which format you learn best from (reading, listening or watching) the site has helpfully taken into account different learning styles and provides podcasts, video tutorials and manuals for the all internet safety issues you might ever come across.
So once you’ve set up the basics (your wifi protection, your password manager, your anti-virus etc) you can gradually work your way through the other resources. There are so many interesting finds among the way. For example, did you know that each time you take a photograph, your phone stores a whole host of metadata along with it, capturing the location in coordinates of where you took the photo, what device you used to take it, the time and date stamp. Once you share and send this picture online, you are giving up a bunch of private information which could potentially fall into the wrong hands. SimpleCyberLife.com give you a walk through guide of how to switch this scary setting off, in addition to tonnes of other extremely beneficial parental controls that I didn’t even know were possible.
The community forum is another amazing unique aspect of the site which offers an incredible level of support and advice. You can join other parents in asking whatever questions you have about the ever evolving (and ever daunting) world of online safety. Your questions are then answered by a team of internet safety experts, who are happy to point you in the right direction or provide practical advice and support. Fellow parents can also comment and provide supportive advice about similar situations they may have encountered. Considering you can often feel quite alone in terms of online safety (since it’s something we’re left to our own devices with), it’s a great additional layer of support.
Becoming a better digital citizen
SimpleCyberLife.com are also very passionate about educating both parents and children to be better digital citizens and consider the impact their contributions online may have. This is such an important aspect of the site, especially as the internet is still very new and lacking in regulation, so you may often unsavoury comments and content.
The advice on the site outlines:
“Before posting anything online, we must take the time to think about the impact our published words may have on the person reading them. Remember that your words have potential consequences, both legally and emotionally. We all have opinions and sometimes it can be helpful to have constructive discussions online. However sometimes those opinions aren’t welcome and we should try to judge according to the context of the situation as to whether it might hurt the feelings of another person – and how you might feel if it caused harm.
Because once they are published, it might not be possible to retract them. You may think that your one strong opinion might not cause harm, but when it’s added into a snowball of many other unverified conclusions, assumptions, opinions and remarks, it can have serious consequences. Parents can download the BBC Own It app onto their child’s phones, which monitors how young people interact with friends and family online and offers help and support if children are about to send sensitive data or a potentially upsetting or hurtful message. It uses AI and a special keyboard to evaluate a child’s mood so it can offer advice in real-time or encourage them to talk to trusted adults.”
To become a member of SimpleCyberLife.com and lead your internet life safely and soundly, join today!