Time and time again, Virgin Digital Help, a new personal tech-support service identifies vulnerabilities in home networks that can open the door to malicious online attacks – vulnerabilities that are often opened by a curious child trying to connect online.

Because many gaming consoles, smartphones, tablets, music players, and yes, – home appliances feature Internet connectivity, there are more gadgets to worry about versus the one desktop you might have grown up with. In fact, it’s likely that today’s young kids know how to surf the web using the home cable or satellite receiver compared to their parents. While today’s gadgets can do so much it’s a little nerve-wrecking if you aren’t sure how to activate and deactivate such features.

Because the Champs at Virgin Digital Help are constantly helping folks set up or fix technical issues, they know how to help parents stay in control of their family’s online activity (even in the places where you didn’t think it was happening). Here are a few tips:

Password Protect Your Network: This is something that can easily be done through the settings in your home router, depending on its brand. It’s always smart to equip your wireless network with a password that only the house-hold decision makers are aware of. Even if your child has a computer that he or she uses for school and gaming, you can act as the “network administrator” by connecting it to the internet, and keeping the password just for those who need-to-know.

  1. Parental Controls: So you just walked into your living room and found your daughter watching a racy YouTube via your BluRay player. After the initial shock that your television “just-did-that”, you should go straight for the remote control and hit “menu” and navigate to the “Parental Controls” settings. Most devices will allow you to put restrictions on the type of content that is accessible, and even let you enable a password for access. If you would rather be safe than sorry, you can always disable the internet feature all together.
  2. Take Control: chances are that you, or another family member paid for your child’s futuristic toy – so it’s your responsibility to set some ground rules. Make your expectations clear for what they are allowed – and not allowed to access. Also, make sure to inform yourself about the potential dangers that are lurking online that your child’s online behavior might run into. Finally set rules for the device – time restrictions and supervised usage are both effective ways to set limits on usage.