MEDIA RELEASE - Unwrapping the danger of gifting tech to kids this Christmas

21 December 2023





A national charity is urging parents and guardians to talk with children about the potential dangers of electronic devices amid a concerning rise in harmful sexual behaviours in kids.

Child protection organisation Act for Kids is encouraging parents to talk with their children about technology risks before devices are gifted this Christmas.

The warning comes after more than 40,000 reports of child sexual exploitation were made to the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation last financial year.

Act for Kids CEO Dr Katrina Lines said the organisation had noticed an increase in technology-assisted harmful sexual behaviours in kids over the past year.

“We have seen a variety of examples of how technology has assisted and increased sexualised behaviour in children,” she said.

“The most common examples are when children have been able to view pornography on internet accessible devices and then have distributed it to their friends.

“The current trajectory of these incidents suggest they will certainly continue to rise in the year ahead.”

Dr Lines advised this harmful sexual behaviour was also presenting in both young and older children, with parents and children themselves reporting this to authorities.

“Many people assume this is an issue for children who are more technologically-savvy than younger children. This isn’t always true, as younger children are equally inquisitive and curious,” she said.

“This curiosity leads to exploration and them wanting to borrow or use somebody else’s device to access the internet.”

Dr Lines said parents and guardians should have a frank conversation with their children about the dangers the internet can pose before gifting laptops, iPads, smart phones, gaming consoles and smart TVs.

Here are three more simple steps to keep kids safe online:

  1. Secure household devices by setting passwords or child-locks on kids’ devices. This includes smart fridges, gaming consoles and even Google Home.
  2. Supervise children online and monitor the material they are accessing by keeping devices in a shared family area. This will assist to regularly check their privacy settings and internet search limitations as well as yours.
  3. Discuss strategies that can be used to stay safe and keep others safe online.

For more information, visit: https://www.actforkids.com.au/get-help/

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For photo, video and interview opportunities, please contact Harriett Carter on:

M: 0427 794 666
E: harriett.carter@actforkids.com.au