SafeGuard

Help keep your family safer online for free, with Post Office SafeGuard ®

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Overview

About SafeGuard

The internet is a wonderful thing that can make our lives easier and more enjoyable, but it also has its risks, especially when children start exploring it on their own. To help you and your family enjoy the internet as safely as possible, we have introduced Post Office SafeGuard® - a free online tool that helps block harmful or inappropriate online content. SafeGuard is easy to use and quick to set up. All your devices will be protected as long as you are connected to the Post Office broadband. 

SafeGuard has three main features:

Kids Guard 
You can’t always be there to monitor what your children or grandchildren find online. An innocent internet search can provide countless results for inappropriate sites. SafeGuard helps you protect them from unsuitable content like pornography, violence, drugs and alcohol by blocking these sites. You can customize the filter to suit your household needs. 

Homework Guard 
This feature allows you to block access to social network and gaming sites during set hours of the day. We think this can come especially handy during homework, study time or exams periods. 

Virus Guard 
Some sites might look inoffensive to the naked eye, but with a simple click you could end up downloading a computer virus that could seriously harm your devices. SafeGuard helps identify malware-infected and phishing websites. These potentially dangerous sites will be blocked as long as you are connected to the internet with the Post Office broadband router.

For more information on how to keep your family safer when using the internet read our online safety advice and tips, or our SafeGuard FAQs.

Online safety

General Online Safety

The internet has rapidly become an essential tool in our lives. Our children and grandchildren can’t imagine a world without apps, Facebook or video chat. But the Web can be a hazardous place for them. Just an innocent internet search can bring up inappropriate content. Thankfully there are a few things you can do to ensure children at home are as safe as possible when going online. 

Here are a few tips: 

The first thing we recommend you do is activate SafeGuard and set the filters to suit your needs. This protects against malware and phishing sites on all devices using the Post Office router. It’s free and easy to use and you can also customise the settings to block inappropriate sites for children. 

For additional protection, we also offer free Anti-virus security software to all HomePhone and Broadband Premium customers. This compliments SafeGuard by scanning and removing any harmful content already on your PC or laptop. Download it by logging into your account and clicking on “Anti-virus security software”, or find out more about protecting yourself against computer viruses.

Talk to your children or grandchildren about the internet. Be honest and let them know about all the dangers they might encounter and how to deal with them. 

Tell them to always be careful when interacting with strangers online. They should never reveal their personal information (real name, address, school, telephone numbers, etc.), their deepest secrets or share any sexually explicit content (see the Sexting section). 

It’s a good idea to keep computers and gaming consoles in the living room or other communal areas, rather than a bedroom, so you can keep an eye on what your children or grandchildren are viewing. 

Online tips and advice

Online gaming

Online gaming comes in many shapes and forms nowadays. Children can now play with total strangers using a computer, mobile phone, tablet or game console. Online multiplayer games are increasingly popular, linking children to people they’ve never met across the globe. 
Also, keep in mind that many games are unsuitable for children below the age of 18. Be sure to enable parental controls on any gaming or mobile devices your children may use. 
Because online gaming usually requires that you interact with other players, your child might be exposed to inappropriate language, cyber bullying or could be deceived by adults posing as children. The latter can be particularly dangerous, so it is very important your children know they should never reveal their true identity or personal details such as address or school they attend to those who they have only met online.

Tips to help children game safely online: 

  • Remind them that people they ‘meet’ online are still considered strangers and they should never ever arrange to meet them without an adult present. 
  • Talk to your children about the types of people they might encounter in the online world. Some strangers might approach them through online gaming asking the child to carry out inappropriate behaviour (through chat or a webcam) in return for gaming rewards or cheats. 
  • Remind your children to tell you straight away if they come into contact with anyone who makes them feel uncomfortable. If the issue is serious you can report it to The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre.
  • Make sure you use the parental controls on your devices to restrict access to games that aren’t appropriate for their age group. Some of these controls will also let you set how they interact and what they are able to download. 

And finally, it’s important to note that some games offer in-game purchasing that extends or enhances the gaming experience. This is particularly true for mobile apps. It is incredibly easy to spend a substantial amount of money on these in-game purchases and it may be impossible to claim it back. Make sure your child knows you must approve these first, or set up the device so that it requires a password for all transactions. 

Social networking

Sites and apps like Facebook, Twitter and Snapchat are great to stay close to your friends and families, share pictures, videos and your opinions. However, it’s important to explain to your children that they should be very careful when sharing their personal details and secrets online. The rule of thumb is: don’t share anything that you wouldn’t want the whole world to see. Information that is posted online can be extremely difficult to remove, meaning embarrassing photos or other material may come back to haunt them.

Tips to help children use social media safely: 

Show them where the “report inappropriate behaviour” buttons are in each social network they use. 

  • Don’t allow young children to use a webcam in their bedroom. This can help prevent them being persuaded into doing anything inappropriate. 
  • Help them customise their privacy controls. 
  • Remind them to never post their phone number, home address or school name online. 
  • Teach them how to block and delete people and remind them that they can do this at any time. 
  • Explain that it’s very easy for adults to pose as children in social media and instant messaging. 
  • Advise them to never add, or accept an invite from, a person they don’t know in real life. Even if these people claim to be friends of friends. They should check first if it’s true. 

Please note, most social networks are illegal to use for those below a certain age. Be sure to check your children are not using social networks that are inappropriate for them. 

 

Cyber bullying

Cyber Bullying is now the most common form of bullying. Bullies are attacking others via text messages, instant messages, social networks and even online games. As with the more traditional forms of bullying, it’s important to let your children know that they should speak out if they ever feel they are being bullied online, and that they can always count on you for support and advice. 

Tips for defending your children against Cyber Bullying: 

  • Remind your children to never give their friends (or anyone else) the password to their social network accounts. Because if they ever fall out, that person can easily post something offensive on their profile page. Also, help your children customise their privacy settings to avoid strangers contacting them and advise them to not add people they don’t know. 
  • Report any cyber bullying to the social network as soon as possible. Try to collect as much evidence as you can, this includes screen grabs of anything posted on social media, chat rooms, forums and instant messaging and emails to show the authorities if necessary. 
  • And one last thing, consider setting up your own account on your child’s preferred social network and add them as friends so you can keep an eye on things. 

Sexting

‘Sexting’ is the act of sending sexually explicit messages using a mobile phone or the internet. It can be a tricky subject to discuss with children, but it’s as important to talk about as the first time you told them about the birds and the bees. Sexting is more common than you think, so it’s important you have the talk, and remind your children about the consequences of sending or receiving sexually explicit pictures. 

Tips for educating children on sexting: 

  • ·    Sharing sexual content about someone under the age of 18 is illegal by law, even if the messages or pictures are only sexually suggestive. 
  • Sharing explicit messages or pictures with someone they trust such as a boyfriend or girlfriend doesn’t guarantee that the images won’t make their way into the wrong hands. People argue and break up, and this could lead to the desire to hurt the other person. 
  • Phones and computers can be lost, stolen or hacked, and the messages or pictures on them can end up online for the world to see. 
  • Sexually explicit messages or pictures should never be sent to people they have only met online, irrelevant of how friendly they are. Adults posing as children or teenagers may seek to harm or use them. 
  • Your children should never reveal any personal information to strangers online. Teach them how to block people on their social networks, and ask them to come to you if any problems arise, so that you can deal with them, or alert the authorities if necessary. 

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