Five principles to stay safe online

Ensuring students, families and schools stay safe online we are inviting our Grammar families and the wider Sunshine Coast community to join us for an information evening with Brett Lee on Thursday, 27 July. Brett will share his knowledge and provide practical tips on keeping our children safe online.  

This is a FREE event but registration is required. Please register via Events Online.

The following five principles and safeguards will assist and empower parents, carers, educators and other professionals charged with the care of children in creating a safe, fun and educational online environment for our youth whilst reducing risk and issues.

  1. Set rules and boundaries

These are not optional.

Time limits and curfews:

  • An understanding of what language is acceptable
  • Guidelines on where in the home technology can and can’t be used
  • What websites, games and apps can be used
  • What to do if something of concern happens or a mistake is made.

2. Stay current

Parents should increase their knowledge base as needed.

Staying current does not require parents becoming technology experts. It involves being across what children generally do on the internet, staying current by learning:

  • What devices can connect to the internet
  • When those devise are connected
  • Where kids are going online, d what programs and games they are using
  • Who they are connected to.

3. Parents take charge

You are the one who controls technology and makes the final decisions.

As children grow, parents can let them make choices with less guidance but ensure their choices remain consistent with family requirements. The main decisions parents need to make surround:

  • When technology is used
  • Where technology is used
  • What programs, apps and sites are allowable
  • With whom a child can connect
  • Don’t allow technology to take charge
  • Do not believe that a program or website’s popularity, user numbers or profitability give it credibility or suitability.

4. Use management controls

Parents have a right to know where their children go and whom they communicate with.

Parental controls work on a device or account to monitor or control information or activity. A variety of programs are available and some can be downloaded for free. More common functions include:

  • Blocking concerning websites
  • Setting time limits and ensuring curfews
  • Recording websites visited
  • Recording conversations in certain programs
  • Limiting the downloading of particular apps
  • Notifying a parent of concerning activity.

5. Communicate

Create an environment of openness about technology and talk about it with your kids.

Healthy communication about technology occurs by seizing the opportunities:

  • Take 10 minutes each day during school drop-off or pick-up
  • If you notice an unusual facial reaction after looking at a screen, ask them questions
  • Have a chat around the dinner table about what’s happening online
  • Direct children to and discuss media articles about technology

Never underestimate the value of face-to-face communication. Research has shown that families who sit around a dinner table at least three times a week and talk are less likely to experience cyberbullying.

As children grow, the way parents communicate with them changes. When they are young, parents ‘tell’ them; as they move into their teens, the tone changes more to discussing, guiding and suggesting. Parents should never stop communicating. They should talk to their children, other parents, friends, family and school teachers.