How we keep our kids safe online

Cocoon Labs

We know keeping your children safe online can be daunting, but Cocoon is here to help. We’re on a mission to help you feel safe and protect those you love, online and offline.

“Children want their parents to be part of their online life and to talk to them about it just as they do about their day at school,” says Amanda Azeez, associate head of child safety online at the UK’s National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), in a recent interview.

“To children, online friends are real friends. Online life is real life. There is no distinction. Just like in real life, children need our help to stay safe online.”

It can be daunting to know how to start, and every family is different. We spoke with the parents in our team to find out how they go about it, it may help you:

John, Co-Founder and Head of Software at Cocoon

“There are a few things we do to keep our family safe online, and a few things we’ve tried to teach the kids to help them look out for themselves and each other.

“We use an advert blocker (uBlock Origin, but there are lots of other options out there) because we’ve found that some ads are relatively age-inappropriate. For the younger kids, we don’t let them use apps and games with multiplayer chat. For our older kids, we make sure they know not to trust what other people say about themselves online. They know to never share any details about themselves, especially names, locations and photographs.

“Importantly, they know that it’s OK to come and tell us about anything which worries them. They won’t get into trouble.”

Sanjay, CEO and Co-Founder at Cocoon

“I’ve been amazed at how great our kids’ schools are about online security. They’re not only teaching our kids but giving talks for parents too. As a result, our family is pretty well informed.

“Our children know not to put their real names online, even as an email address or social handle, and not to upload pictures and videos of themselves. They find it hard to understand but know that anything they put online could be there forever, so it’s best to never write anything when angry or upset. They’re pretty savvy! My nine-year-old daughter came home from school the other day saying “Daddy, did you know that if I put a picture on facebook and twitter it’s no longer my picture? They own it.”

“Emphasis has changed from stranger danger in the park to online. I’m really impressed with how our education system has stepped up to face that challenge in support of parents.”

Innes, Software Engineer at Cocoon

“Lila, my oldest daughter, is just 3 years old. The best way to keep her safe is by putting my phone, laptop and gadgets (including Cocoon) out of her reach on a shelf! On a more serious note, she is allowed to play some games on our iPad but she’s not allowed on the internet. Although she possibly still doesn’t know what it is! Our devices all have passcodes, which we don’t show her. This means she can only use them when we let her. It will get harder as she gets older, but for now I feel pretty confident we’re keeping her safe.”

Parmjit, Test Analyst at Cocoon

“My daughter is still too young to go online, but I’m very close to my nephews and help look after them lots. They can only go online during the week for homework, and at weekends. All our devices have a pin so the parents have to unlock it for them to use it. Veer who’s eight years old is really creative and likes making videos with iMovie. He’s not allowed any social media accounts. He can watch videos on youtube but he can’t share anything at all.”

Resources to help your kids go online safely

The NSPCC online safety website offers very detailed guidance with an amazing collection of free resources. They cover everything from helping children to play games safely online, through to what to do if you think they’re watching adult content or sending inappropriate pictures.

Get Safe Online is a government-backed website crammed with information on keeping yourself and your family safe online. It has some great checklists for how to look after your children’s internet use, tailored for different age groups:

And of course, if we can help at all do let us know. We’re experienced in cybersecurity and lots of our team have young families. We know that this stuff can be hard! Reach out at [email protected], we’ll make sure all information is treated sensitively and will respond with the best advice we can.