The internet has become an indispensable part of life. Safer Internet Day is a worldwide event, recognised in more than 130 countries, and aims to raise awareness around how we can all contribute to creating a safer, better internet.
Constable Care Child Safety Foundation delivers an empowering internet safety incursion Screen Name, FREE to children in upper primary school (Years 4 to 6) and proudly supports the global awareness day, which encourages people to develop four critical skills for online safety:
Respect - I treat myself and others the way I like to be treated
Responsibility - I am accountable for my actions and I take a stand when I feel something is wrong
Reasoning - I question what is real
Resilience - I get back up from tough situations
These skills can help in all areas of life – online and off – and are being called the 4Rs of online safety. Parents are encouraged to start a conversation with their children about the 4Rs and online safety. Check out these tips from the Office of the e-Safety Commissioner.
Be aware of the minimum age requirements and talk regularly with your child about privacy settings. Keep the lines of communication open and show an interest in how they’re connecting with friends. They might be more inclined to talk openly about the latest apps and trends if you talk about what others (their friends and peers) are doing online.
Negotiate together, and ahead of time, key rules around when screens can be on and when they must be switched off. Young teens are likely to respond better to rules that they have contributed to. With gaming, think about using a timer that signals the game is almost over and be clear about the consequences of not switching off.
Explore how personal information can be used online, now and in the future. If you have your own social media account, think about the types of photos and information you share, review your own habits and model safe online behaviour.
Use parental controls, filtering software and safe searches (like Google Safe Search) to help block the nasty stuff. Remind your child not to open spam email or click on pop-ups and discuss the importance of healthy and respectful relationships.
Consistent online taunts intended to hurt, threaten or embarrass are considered cyberbullying. However social exclusion tends to be the most common form or cyberbullying.
Be aware – young people might not tell their parents about cyberbullying as they may be embarrassed, worried you might overreact, restrict access to devices or make things worse by speaking out. Key signs include being upset after using devices, changes in personality, a decline in school work and appearing lonely and distressed. Report serious cyberbullying material to the social media service involved. A complaint can also be made to the office of the eSafety Commissioner if the reported material has not been take down within 48 hours.
Contact with Strangers
Help your child understand why it’s important to keep some information private and to be vigilant about who they accept as ‘friends’ online. Encourage your child to talk to you or another trusted adult if they feel uncomfortable or worried about online contact with a stranger. There are tools in social media and online gaming which can help block people.
For more online safety tips visit the eSafety iParent site at www.esafety.gov.au/iparent
Constable Care Child Safety Foundation has been keeping West Australian children safe for the past 30 years. For a taste of how we cover internet safety click here to learn more about Screen Name, which reinforces to primary school children the importance of never giving out personal information online and what to do if they feel unsafe using the internet.