Online Safety

It is important to remember that although the use of Online Media such as Apps, videos and educational games is both entertaining and beneficial to children’s learning, we must remember that the internet is not always safe especially if the app or game being used has a chat function.

Last year I asked a group of students if their parents let them walk around Carindale shopping centre alone and they were quite emphatic with their response of, “No!” and disbelief that they would ever be able to do that. Yet when I asked if they went onto the internet with things like Youtube or gaming online, many of them said they did which is perfectly normal. The problem was that many of their parents did not know what they were watching or, more alarmingly, who they were chatting with online.

While your children use online tools at home, it is important to ensure they are practising safe habits online. As parents, you can help to instil good habits of respect, empathy, critical thinking and safe, responsible behaviour when children are using online resources.

The following tips from the eSafety Commissioner gives some great ideas for keeping your child safe online:

  • Be Engaged with your child’s internet use. Keep the use of devices restricted to an area of your home where it can be supervised. Share some online time with your child and talk about what they are doing online. Keep the lines of communication open.
  • Encourage safe and responsible behaviour by working to achieve a healthy balance between your child’s online and offline activities. Set boundaries for digital device use in your home. Make sure any online media your child is using is set to the strongest privacy settings and teach your child to avoid clicking on pop-up ads on websites. At night, charge devices in a central area of your home rather than in your child’s bedroom.
  • Use Parental Controls available on your home Wi-Fi, individual devices, streaming services, software and web browsers to help protect your children online. These controls can often be used to block, filter, monitor or set time limits online.
  • Promote respectful communication by encouraging your child to use the same positive manners and behaviour as they would offline. If it’s not ok to do or say something face to face, then it’s not ok online.
  • Encourage empathy by helping your child to imagine being in someone else’s shoes so they can relate to diverse opinions and understand what might make people behave in different ways.
  • Teach them to question by encouraging your child to think critically about what they see online. Talk to them about ‘fake news’ and the importance of checking news sources. Remind them to be careful when making new friends online as people may not be who they say they are. It is especially important to alert your child to the dangers of meeting someone in person that they have been talking to online.
If you would like further information about online safety, have a look at these valuable websites: