Internet-connected devices are a part of many children’s lives from the moment they can hold an object.
Helping children stay safe when they’re connected to the internet is a top priority for parents, educators, the community and government. That means there are many helpful online resources available to help guide families through managing potential risks and what to do if something goes wrong.
Talk with your family about why it is important to stay safe online and share tips to help protect one another.
How to provide a safe online experience for children
There are a number of steps you can take to protect your children from online threats. You’ll need to adjust your approach to each of these based on the developmental age of your children.
Talk openly and often about what’s happening online
Your children need to understand the potential threats that the internet can expose them to. Talk regularly about online risks, and how you can work together to manage them.
Ways to stay safe online include never:
- sharing personal information, images or passwords
- filling in forms, agreements or contracts without speaking with you first
- downloading software, apps or games without speaking with you first
- opening emails from people they don’t recognise, or connecting with people they don’t know.
Establish house rules on:
- online time limits
- what they can do online including social media and gaming guidelines
- treating others respectfully online
- where they can access the internet from, for example in the living area, not behind closed doors
- the consequences of not following family internet rules.
Encourage talking openly about any concerns about what they have come across or experienced online.
Balance access with security
Set up child friendly internet filters on your modem. Your modem is what connects all your devices to the internet. You can then control your family’s internet access from the modem, including turning off internet access.
Read the article How to secure your mobile devices and apps to find out how to protect your family when they’re not accessing the internet via your home modem.
Supervise your children online
Get involved with your children’s online activities to understand how they’re using their time online, and where any new risks may lie. Introducing an online rule of only accessing the internet in shared living areas of your home is a good way to stay connected with your children’s online behaviours and activities.
What to do if something goes wrong online ?
The following online resources will help you take the right steps to protect your family if something goes wrong online.
Office of the eSafety Commissioner
This Australian Government website provides helpful advice for staying safe online. It also provides a range of resources, tools and information for parents with a focus on managing cyber bullying, trolling, sexting and grooming risks.
- You’ll find help on the iParent pages.
The Alannah and Madeline Foundation
AMF is dedicated to keeping children safe from violence and operates a number of award-winning educational courses for children, teachers and parents covering online safety.
- Visit AMF to find out more.
Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network (ACORN)
You can learn about and report common types of cybercrime include hacking, scams, fraud, identity theft, attacks on computer systems and illegal or prohibited online content via ACORN.
The Attorney-General’s Department also provides helpful advice on their Protecting your identity website page.
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