Supporting your child

What can I do if I am worried about my child’s online social activity?

You are not alone in feeling worried – they are your kids after all! The best course of action is talking to your child about your concerns. Be honest with them and express your concern about what might happen online. You can ask if they have experienced bullying or sexual advances, but most importantly, keep the communication open—if they won't talk to you, recruit a trusted family friend or family member who they may prefer to confide in. Remember, banning them from social media seldom works as they will find other ways and may retreat or stop talking to you about issues.

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What kinds of concerns do other parents share?

We get asked many questions from parents just like you – here are a list of the most common questions. If your question is not here, please contact us.

When should I be worried about my child?

If your child's behaviour changes at home and/or school, talk to them. Examples of changed behaviour could include disinterest in things they used to like, seeming very unhappy, and changed sleeping or eating patterns. You can seek professional advice from a school counsellor, your GP or a psychologist. If your child has particular vulnerabilities, be vigilant about their contacts offline and online. Help them join extra-curricular activities and talk with their school and make sure they are supported.

What can I do if someone online makes comments or advances of a sexual nature towards my child?

If you believe someone is making your child feel uncomfortable online, like talking about sex, asking them to do sexual things on a webcam or asking for sexual photos, then immediately report it to the Australian Federal Police Child Protection Operations team. They investigate reports of suspicious online behaviour involving a child. You can advise them of your concern via their online Child exploitation form.

Infographic - how to report cyberbullyingWhat can I do if my child is being cyberbullied on social media?

You can take positive action to help your child, including:

  • Open communication - talk about cyberbullying with your child before it happens and discuss strategies to address it – read our useful tips for managing cyberbullying.
  • Reporting cyberbullying – most social media services have a reporting area. You'll find a list of these on our Social media services safety centres page. You may need to help your child gather evidence – we have listed useful tips for collecting evidence. You can also make complaints to the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner using our online complaints form  – find out more
  • Block the bully – help your child to block or unfriend the person upsetting them, and advise them not to respond.
  • Report to police – if you have concerns about your child’s personal safety, contact your local police on Triple Zero (000) or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.

Where can I obtain support?

If you or your child need expert help to deal with a distressing situation, professional services are available.

  • Kids Helpline offers free and confidential online and phone counselling to young people 24/7. Telephone: 1800 55 1800.
  • eHeadspace provides an online counselling service to young people aged 12–25. Telephone: 1800 650 890.
  • Parentline provides telephone counselling and support for parents and carers of children. Telephone: 1300 30 1300.

Where can I find information about suitable social media services and apps for my child?

There are many popular social media services and apps used by young people – check out the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner’s comprehensive guide. User reviews by organisations like NetAware (UK) and Commonsense Media can also be a useful source of information. You can find links to reviews on our Choosing movies and games page.

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