September 2011 NSW 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, 2011.
The fact sheet includes codes for parents being in the room, meeting others in real life, and codes for drugs.
"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.
"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.
Parents are encouraged 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:
- monitoring children’s online presence on computers and mobile phones, especially social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter and photosharing sites like Flickr and Tumblr
- warning children about sexual predators, and explaining that images can end up in the wrong hands
- giving your children clear rules on what they can and can’t do with their mobile phone, and monitoring text and picture messages
- teaching children that once information is available online, it is impossible to remove and will contribute to their online history.
Link: Fact Sheet (PDF)
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.
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