Holidays mean more free time to go online, so what can parents do?

The summer holidays are stretching ahead - and parents will have a tough job keeping bored youngsters off their devices.

And at a time when online use will undoubtedly rise, parents are worried about the content their kids can access.

A new survey has found that while three-quarters of Kiwi parents are concerned their kids may have access to online porn, only one in three use online tools to block porn sites.

Of the 653 New Zealand parents surveyed by Perceptive Research, less than a third said they had installed programmes to block adult content.

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Most respondents said they hadn't used online protection software because they were unaware such tools existed or lacked knowledge about how to use them.

Netsafe director Martin Cocker said because technology was rapidly changing, today's youth were navigating challenges their parents never had to.

"Parents can help their child have a positive online experience by using the right tools, having open conversations about how their child should use technology, role modelling appropriate behaviours, and letting them know where to go for help if they need it."

Slingshot general manager and father-of-four Taryn Hamilton said the Internet provider understood the struggles parents faced and launched the Family Filter tool to help customers "protect your kids from the darker corners of the web".

"We know kids are out and about during summer but when they are at home and online, there tends to be less supervision. As parents we can't bubble wrap our kids, but we do want to keep them safe."

Family Filter "blocks porn and other potentially harmful sites at a network-level, protecting any device that's connected to the home Wi-Fi", Hamilton said.

It also stops web users from accessing sites infected with viruses, the dark web, dating sites and web pages containing content about drugs, gambling, alcohol, tobacco, suicide and self harm.

The filter is free for the first year and can be turned on and off from Slingshot customers' accounts.

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Netsafe's tips to keep your kids safe online

Keep it private: Make sure your child's profiles, pictures and friends lists are private
Keep it friendly: Ask your child to think about the potential consequences for themselves and other people for every video uploaded, comment posted, photo shared and email and text they send.
Keep it helpful: Make sure your child knows where to turn to for help with online bullying
Keep it online: Make sure your child only ever meets online friends for the first time in the company of your or trusted adult.
Keep it locked: Make sure your child's mobile phone has a PIN so when lost or stolen it can't be used to auto-sign into their online profiles.
Keep it strong: Encourage your child to use strong passwords and to change them often - and reinforce they shouldn't share them with anyone except you.
Keep it real: Help build resilience in your child in case they come across anything upsetting online.

WIN WITH THE HERALD ON SUNDAY

The Herald on Sunday has teamed up with Slingshot for a bumper Christmas broadband giveaway.

Two lucky winners will win a year's free Slingshot unlimited broadband, valued at $1079 each.

To be in to win, send an email to news@hos.co.nz, with 'Slingshot' in the subject field and don't forget to include your name, address and phone number in the email. Entries close at 5pm, Tuesday December 20, 2016.