When I was a young lad my parents always used to worry when I went out with my friends. "Don't talk to strangers," they would say, before adding, "don't accept a lift from anyone you don't know."
Being a parent myself now, I know why they were concerned. The advent of the internet has done little to put mothers and fathers at ease. If anything, it has made matters far worse.
New technology can often be a double-edged sword. While it offers multiple opportunities to the masses, it also opens doors to the less savoury characters in our societies too.
We hear too often about predators targeting and grooming kids online. But the internet has also increased the potential dangers for kids in other ways too. The biggest of these, and perhaps most well publicised, comes in the form of cyber bullying.
While children still have to contend with bullies at school, they are now faced with continued harassment at home, by cowards who taunt and harass by keyboard.
Fortunately, however, we parents can do something about these threats. By using various forms of parental controls, in conjunction with some common sense, we can do much to protect our children when they are using the internet.
By following our tips for some of the more popular platforms your kids are likely to be using, you can increase their chances of staying safe and emotionally secure online.
Hopefully the short summaries above should allow parents to implement a degree of control that they are happy with over the devices their children are likely to be using.
Many of the parental controls will allow you to limit what your kids can do in terms of the amount of time they spend online and the types of web sites that they can visit. They will also prevent them from downloading content that could be inappropriate or potentially damaging to the device they are using.
But parental control doesn't stop with making a few changes to some settings on a computer, tablet or phone – responsible parents will monitor what their children do, either via software or by direct line of sight.
Parents should also talk to their children on a regular basis, highlighting the various potential dangers and pitfalls on the web, and keep an eye out for any signs that may suggest that their children are unhappy about something.