Minimising risk of unwanted contact

There are some simple things that parents can do to can help prevent unwanted contact.

Stay involved

  • Stay involved in your child’s use of technologies. Keep up-to-date with the sites they are visiting and explore them together.
  • It is useful to consider whether you are comfortable with the content of the sites and the potential for contact with others including adults.
  • Help them to report cyberbullying to the service provider or website administrator.
  • Reassure your child that you will give support even when they have shared something online they might regret.
  • Keep communication open and calm so they know they can report when someone is asking them to do something online that doesn’t feel right.
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Establish rules

  • Remind your child to create a ‘safe’ user name. It should not indicate their gender, age, name or location and is not sexually provocative – a first name or nickname is ideal.
  • Establish rules regarding what information your child can post online, including not providing their surname, address or school and for younger children, request they don’t upload or text images or videos without your permission.

Protect privacy

  • Guide your child to use their privacy settings to restrict their online information to viewing by known friends only on social networking sites.
  • Encourage your child to keep their online friends online.

Talk safety

  • Talk about how to maximise ‘safe’ conditions for any face-to-face meeting with ‘online’ friends including being accompanied by you or another trusted adult in public places during the day. And remind them to always tell someone where they are going and who they are meeting.
  • Encourage your child to be alert to people who make them feel uncomfortable and to block them and report inappropriate contact to the website administrator.
  • Teach your kids to notify you immediately if a stranger tries to start a conversation about something inappropriate or requests personal information or photos.

Be proactive 

  • Don’t block your child’s internet access if they are worried about what has been said online as they may not open up to you in future.
  • Be alert to concerning changes in your child’s behaviour or mood. Watch for signs of withdrawal, anxiety, sadness or changed interactions with family friends.
  • Seek professional support if necessary.

Parent questions about online grooming and predators

Where can I go for help?

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