The risks of cyber safety are vast and include:
- Exposure to inappropriate material, such as pornography or violence
- Physical danger, such as meeting up with strangers met online
- Unwanted advertising & marketing towards children
- Harassment & bullying
- Exposure of personal information & privacy
- Financial risks
- Unreliable information
Sarge and I spoke to a member of the NSW Police Force's sex crimes squad who gave us some great tips to help keep your kids safe.
- Establish rules - how long and where
- Check settings - particularly Facebook, go into the app setting and restrict to age appropriate only
- Get children to show you what they’re doing
- Set up the computer in a public area in the home – making supervision easier
- If you don’t already, get to know the Internet. Its important to familiarise yourself with what is available to your child online.
- Make sure kids never give our their private details (name, address, phone number, school)
- Stress that they should never send a photo of themselves to anyone. If they send a nude image of themselves, it is a criminal offence and they run the risk of being placed on the CPR (child protection registry)
- Ensure they never make plans to meet anyone from online - predators will pretend they have similar
- And the biggest rule is: Never, ever post something online that you wouldn't want your parents, friends or school to see
Cyber Safety starts from a young age. Here, I've listed ways that you can encourage cyber safety within each different age group.
PRE-SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN
This age group is just beginning to learn how the computer works. Be sure to sit with your child during this stage on the computer and chose websites which are suitable for your child’s age group. My kids that are this age, don't watch regular YouTube and just watch the app YouTube Kids which filters out non age-appropriate programs.
PRIMARY SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN
Primary school aged children need access to the Internet for school work. Children of this age feel more confident using other services provided by the internet such as chat rooms, with some deciding to search for prohibited material. Your children will also be influenced by marketing material. It is extremely important for your children to know not to give out personal information or details. By making their time on the internet a family activity, you will be able to maintain very close supervision, while teaching them safe online behaviour.
HIGH SCHOOL AGED CHILDREN
This is the age group where the internet is a necessity to assist your children with research for projects and homework. Your child will want more independence and freedom while using the internet, while their email and instant messaging contacts will grow. This age group may also feel they want to explore prohibited material. While it is more difficult to keep tight supervision on what your teenager is doing online, it is vital that you stay in touch with them and discuss any issues that may occur. Keeping the computer in a public area in your home can assist with this. Get to know the services your teenager uses, and develop reasonable computer usage rules. with them.
You can listen to our special Podcast on Keeping Kids Safe Cyber Safety:
This video really hit home to me because I believe that at least two of my children would walk away with a stranger. We watched this together and then talked about it later.