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Internet safety matters

School-age children are going online to watch videos, play games and connect with friends and family. They might also be using the internet for schoolwork and homework.

Once school-age children are browsing online unsupervised, there are internet safety risks. In particular these risks increase if your child uses the internet to communicate with others on social media or within games.

It's important for parents to take practical internet safety precautions to protect their children from risky or inappropriate content or activities.

Here are some ideas on how parents can put these safety measures in place:

  • Create a plan with your child and ask for suggestions. Your plan could cover things like screen-free areas around the home, internet safety rules, for example not giving out personal information. Discuss programs and apps that are okay for your child to use and what is not okay.
  • Ask your child to use kid-friendly search engines like Kiddle, or content providers like ABC Kids, CBeebies, YouTube Kids or KIDOZ.
  • Check that games, websites and TV programs are appropriate for your child. You can do this by looking at reviews on Common Sense Media.
  • Use the internet with your child or make sure you’re close by and aware of what your child is doing while they are online. This way you can act quickly and reassure your child if he’s concerned or upset by something he’s seen online.
  • Check privacy settings and location services, use parental controls, use safe search settings on browsers, apps, search engines and YouTube.
  • Find out how to make complaints about offensive online content.
  • Block in-app purchases and disable one-click payment options on your devices.
  • Make sure older siblings follow your internet safety rules, like watching only age-appropriate programs when they go online with younger children.

Trust between you and your child helps keep your child safe online. Calm, open conversations about internet use can help your child feel that you trust her to be responsible online. And if your child feels trusted, she’s more likely to talk with you about what she does online and tell you about online content and contacts that worry them.

If you do choose to monitor your child’s internet use while he’s online or by reviewing his browser history, it’s good to talk with your child about it first.

For more information visit: Raising Children