As millions of children across the country return to classrooms for the start of another school year, there is no better time than now for families to brush up on internet safety. The explosion of connected devices over the past several years has opened up tremendous opportunities in education, with the pandemic also accelerating the critical need for internet connectivity in the home. But with this continual growth in digital learning and internet usage also comes greater societal responsibility to ensure that the youngest population stays safe online.
Fortunately, the cable industry has long understood this issue and plays an important role in advocating for a safer digital world for kids. America's broadband leaders, including Charter, Comcast, Cox, Mediacom, Midco, and GCI offer a myriad of resources and services for parents to assist them in monitoring their children's online activities, and tools on how to teach their kids how to navigate the internet wisely and cautiously.
Online Parental Controls
Whether children go online for school, homework, enrichment, or to connect with their peers, cable operators provide families with a variety of online parental controls to use as they see fit, and according to their needs and preferences. These include a mix of the following:
- Multiple user profiles to allow parents to customize controls according to the needs of each family member
- Filtering options that give children access to certain material and sites approved by the parents, and which block specific sites and keyword searches selected by the parents
- Time limits on screen time for select family members
- Supervised chats that allow parents to monitor the instant messaging and online conversations of their children
Media Literacy and Cybersecurity Training
Cable operators also offer online libraries and video tutorials targeted at spreading awareness about the risks that come with social media usage and from browsing harmful websites, including cyberbullying, online predatory behavior, identity theft, and privacy concerns. These resources not only help to educate families about these dangers, but they also teach kids how to present themselves responsibly and ethically online, and how to best protect their online reputation.
Cable operators partner with national nonprofits, including Common Sense Media, ConnectSafely.org, Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI), the Boys and Girls Clubs of America, and thousands of local organizations, to further expand their ability to offer media literacy and digital ethics classes through after school programs, libraries, and community establishments.
Additionally, with all of the games and apps available today at their fingertips, children are more susceptible to downloading viruses and malware. That's why cable operators offer free anti-virus software and a suite of security products to reduce the risk of infections. On their websites, they also offer a plethora of tips on how to prevent oneself from being the victim of cybersecurity attacks such as ransomware, spyware, botnets, spam, and phishing.
The cable industry strives to empower parents to take an active role in the digital lives of their children, and to continue to educate and inform families about best internet safety practices through its wide array of partnerships with youth organizations dedicated to digital skills and safety, and through its services and products designed to create safer digital environments for all. For a comprehensive library of these tips and tools offered by cable operators and their partners, visit famfriendly.com.