Minister for Family and Community Services Pru Goward has released a fact sheet with useful tips on helping parents monitor their children’s activity on mobile phones and the internet, as part of Child Protection Week, which runs from September 4 to 11.
"The proliferation of social networking sites and smartphone technology means many parents may not be up to speed with their children’s online communications," Ms Goward said.
"The online world can be a bewildering place for parents who grew up without this technology, and it can be difficult to navigate the websites and chat rooms that their children visit.
"A recent Telstra survey showed that one in three parents haven’t spoken to their kids about cyber-bullying, and almost one in five parents haven’t spoken to their kids about how to protect themselves from cyber-predators1.
"I urge parents to take an active role in their child’s online life, to educate themselves about websites like Facebook and Twitter, and to talk openly to their children about the possible dangers of sharing information online and communicating with strangers," Ms Goward said.
The rising popularity in photo-sharing sites is of particular concern, particularly for young people who can find their private images shared widely amongst peers and uploaded onto social networking websites.
"What might initially seem like innocent flirting can end up causing tremendous embarrassment to young men and women. Sharing provocative photos by text message and online is not safe, and there is potential for the images to end up in the wrong hands," Ms Goward said.
As part of Child Protection Week Minister Goward is encouraging parents to get cyber-savvy and learn more about their children’s online activities. There are a number of ways parents can teach their children to be cyber-safe, including:
The Parent Line can help parents with the tools needed to talk openly with their children about cyber-safety, and is staffed by highly trained and experienced counsellors: 1300 1300 52.
Simon Fontana - 0467 738 139.
To view the PDF version of this media release you can access it here.
1 Telstra (2011), Cyber-safety skills urged for kids entering digital schoolyard, available at http://www.telstra.com.au/abouttelstra/media-centre/announcements/cyber-safety-skills-urged-for-kids-entering-digital-schoolyard.xml