Cyber Safety for Parents

You don't need to be a technology expert to help keep your children safe online. Theparenting skills for online safety are the same as they are in the physical world. Whilechildren might seem to have good technical knowledge, their online behavior stillrequires parental monitoring and guidance. Computer filters and e-security software aregood basic protective measures to have in your home. Education and communication arealso important in helping to keep your child safe online. Here are some internet safety measures you can use to monitor your kids.

Cyber Bullying

Cyber bullying is the use of technology tobully a person or group. Bullying is repeatedbehavior with the intent to harm others. Behavior may include:

  • Abusive texts and emails
  • Posting unkind or threatening messages, videos or images on social media websites
  • Imitating or excluding others online
  • Inappropriate image tagging

What can i do

  • Talk to them about cyber bullying before it happens. Work out strategies to address any potential issues and reassureyour child that you will be there to support them.
  • Advise your child not to reply to any messages from a bully. Often if bullies don't receive a response they will give up.
  • Learn how to block a bully so they are no longer able to make contact.
  • Keep a record of harassing messages in case authorities become involved. Put them somewhere your child won'tcontinue to see them.

Social Networking:

Social networking describes a variety ofservices like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, World of Warcraft, Moshi Monsters, Twitter, Skype, Snapchat, Minecraft and many others. All of these services enable direct interaction between individuals. Users can post information about themselves, display photos, tell people what they’ve been up to, chat and play games. Social networking forms a part of the social identity of many teenagers. WHAT CAN I DO:

  • Stay involved in your child’s use of new technology. Set up your own account and learn about privacy settings so you can understand how you can best protect your child. It can be fun for you too!
  • Check the age restrictions for the social networking service or game. Some social networking sites (such as Club Penguin) are created especially for children under the age of 13, but most mainstream sites like Facebook, Instagram and others require the user to be 13 or older.
  • Advise children to set theiraccounts to private so that onlypeople they want to see it canview their information


Sexting is the sending of provocative or sexual photos, messages, or videos, generally using a mobile phone or webcam. It can also include posting this type of material online. Young people often consider sexting as a way of connecting in a relationship.

While sharing suggestive images or text messagesmay seem like innocent flirting or fun, sexting can have serious social and legal consequences. To help protect their reputation, young people need to consider what they share online, and how they handle messages and images sent to them by others.

In most instances of sexting, young people willingly share naked photos of themselves. However sexting can also happen in response to peer pressure. Accidents can also occur; for example, the sender or receiver of sexts may have their phone stolen by someone who decides to publish the images online

What Can I Do:

  • Talk to your child about sexting to prevent any issues from arising. Make sure they are well aware of the risks that may occur if their images were to be spread beyond the person they intended them for.
  • Remind your child about the social and legal consequences ofsexting. If anyone in the photoor video is under 18 they may becommitting a crime if they send,receive or forward messages.
  • If your child has been involved in sexting, remember to stay calm and be reasonable about the consequences. Sexting is not uncommon behavior and your child is not alone in being negatively impacted. Rather than adding to the distress, focus on finding a solution for your child.
  • Try to get the image/video removed from all locations to the greatest extent possible. If sexting content is posted online, report it to the website administrator.

Mobile Phone Safety:

Mobile phones are a great way for childrenand teenagers to stay in touch with theirparents, family and friends and provideaccess to fun and functional resources likegames, the internet, music, apps and more from anywhere at any time.

Many young people would never be without their mobile phone, and a mobile phone provides you with immediate access to your children. However, the fact that they are 24/7 and you can’t always be there to supervise means there are potential risks. These can include high or unexpected bill costs, cyberbullying, sexting, broadcasting their location to unintended others through ‘checking in’ and access to inappropriate material.

  • If you think your child needs a mobile phone, consider purchasing a phone that is not internet enabled. Smartphones come with features you may not yet want your child to have such as unsupervised internet access, a camera, and a wide variety of online games and apps.
  • Stay involved with your child’s use of their mobile phone. If you don’thave a good understanding of howtheir phone works and what theyuse it for, ask them to show you.
  • Help your child to understand that they should treat their phone like a wallet, and that every text message, phone call or download costs money.
  • Let your child know that it’s ok to tell you if they come across something that worries them, and that their phone won’t be taken off them if they report something to you.

Offensive Or Illegal Contents:

  • Children and young people may not deliberately seek out inappropriate content.
  • Children can inadvertently access disturbing or illegal content while undertaking online searches or by clicking on unknown links.
  • Offensive or illegal content may include topics, images or other information that are prohibited or could be damaging to young people online. This is content that may:
  • include footage of real or simulated violence, criminal activity or accidents, promote extreme political or religious views or be sexually explicit and can include illegal images of child sexual abuse
  • promote hate towards individuals or groups on the basis of race, religion, sexual preference or other social/cultural factors, instruct or promote crime, violence or unsafebehavior, like bomb or weapon making, anorexia, drug use, gaining unauthorized access to computers, fraud or terrorist activities

Be aware of how your child uses the internet and explore it with them. Discuss the kinds of sites that are ok to explore and those that are not. consider using parental controls such as filters to help manageyour child’s online access. Remind your child not to open spam email or click on pop ups, prize offers or unfamiliar hyperlinks in websites

How Much Is Too Much:

Your child may be spending too much time online if their online behavior is having a negative impact on other aspects of their life. To many parents it can seem as though children and young people are constantly online. Often they are multitasking; for example downloading and listening to music while studying and chatting with friends or sending messages on their mobile phones. The number of hours children and young people spend online can vary significantly. There is no guideline for the ‘right’ amount of time for children to spend online, however if their online behavior appears to impact negatively on their behavior or wellbeing, or that of the family, it may be time to discuss expectations and establish time limits.

What Can I Do:

  • The longer you wait to address the issue, the more difficult it can be to overcome. So if you see an emerging problem arising from excessive use, act on it right away.
  • Talk to your child about the concerns you have and monitorwhat games, apps and devices arebought or used by your child.
  • You may like to install a filter on the laptop or computer your child is using which can be adjusted to limit the amount of timean internet connection will be available on that device.
  • Consider implementing family agreements about the amountof time your children can spendonline. You might like to have a rule where the ‘Wi-Fi password of the day’ is only given once all homework/chores/family time is done. A similar approach can be used to limit access to devices