MEDIA RELEASE – How to keep kids safe online as children as young as 8 sign up to social media

11 January 2023





Act for Kids is urging parents and carers to supervise children closely with kids as young as 8 starting their own social media accounts including TikTok.

Although TikTok users have to be 13 and older to sign up children much younger have started creating and sharing content on the social media platform via their own accounts.  

“Around 98% of children under the age of 10 are already using online devices leaving them vulnerable to inappropriate content,” Thomas McIntyre, Act for Kids Executive Director said.

“Concerningly, Act for Kids own research revealed that two-thirds (63%) of parents fail to secure devices with passwords and one in two (55%) allow their children unsupervised access online,” he explained.  

Worryingly 78% of Australians blame inappropriate sexual behaviours on access to online content, worryingly, parents are not taking the necessary precautions to protect their children online.

“We accept children, especially over the past three years have spent a lot of time online engaging with their friends and teachers. However, it is important to set boundaries for your child when they are using online devices, including monitoring their online activity and setting a common area in the house for them to use devices,” Mr McIntyre said. 

Unfortunately reports of child exploitation have increased significantly across Australia since the start of the pandemic with children spending much more time online to connect with their friends.

Here are three simple steps to keep their kids safe online – secure, supervise and sit down.

  1. Secure household devices by setting passcodes and restrictions on all devices. This includes smart fridges, gaming consoles and even your Google Home. Check who has the ability to share material with your child, for example Airdrop.
  2. Supervise children online and monitor the material they are accessing.
  3. Identify specific locations for internet use within the home; keeping devices in a shared family area, this will assist to regularly check their privacy settings and internet search limitations as well as yours.

We also recommend limiting daily screen time and establish what may be identified as inappropriate posts on online.

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