Act for Kids is asking families to take at least one simple step to keep their kids safe from the dangers of the online world; keep all electronic devices out of bedrooms as part of Safer Internet Day 2023.
“Sadly, we know there are a lot of people using the internet for the wrong reasons, which often results in the exploitation of children. Keeping electronic devices out of a child’s bedroom and in a designated communal area for safe internet usage in the house will give parents a much better ability to monitor their child’s online behaviour,” Doctor Katrina Lines, Act for Kids Chief Executive Officer explained.
The Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation has received an increase in reports of child abuse since the start of the pandemic as a result of children spending much more time online connecting with their friends.
In 2021-22, more than 36,000 reports of child exploitation were made to the authorities.
“It’s now more important than ever to tighten the boundaries around children’s internet access. We recommend talking to your child about their interactions and online activities, especially teenagers.
“It’s really crucial they understand that when they post something online such as through Instagram or Facebook that it becomes public and can be used for unintended purposes,” Dr Lines said.
Act for Kids own research reveals that although three quarters (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.
Two-thirds (63%) of parents fail to secure devices with passwords and one in two (55%) allow their children unsupervised access online.
“Passcodes and checking the privacy settings are also steps parents can take to ensure their children only access websites that are age-appropriate.” Dr Lines said.
Act for Kids recommends taking the following steps to keep children safe online
- Keep devices out of bedrooms and instead set a communal area in the house for internet usage.
- 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.
- Supervise children online
- Have open and often conversations about safe internet use
- Set a limit on daily screen time for children
- Know how to report a problem
It’s also invaluable parents know how to report a concern or if they think their child or another child is in immediate trouble call triple zero 000.
You can also report abuse through the Esafety Commissioner Website: https://www.esafety.gov.au/report/forms
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