The Australian Government has released a new guide to online safety for parents and carers in response to COVID-19.
With more kids at home using their devices, it’s more important than ever for parents and carers to take some simple steps to help keep their kids safe online according to the Minister of Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP.
“The school holiday period will be very different for Australian families – and children will be spending a lot of time online,” Minister Fletcher said.
“Parents and carers can take some simple steps to manage the risks kids can face online – including cyberbullying and unwanted contact from strangers. This time at home is a good opportunity for parents to start the online safety chat with their kids.
“The eSafety Commissioner is here to help keep families safe, offering practical tools that empower parents and carers to be a positive influence in their kids’ online lives.”
With a 40 per cent spike in reports to eSafety during the crisis, the eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said there is a need for more information to help keep Australian families safe online.
“Our 2018 National Parents Survey found that 95 per cent of parents agreed they needed more information about keeping their kids safe online and that’s why we’re here to help,” Ms Inman Grant said.
“The online environment can change quickly and the three biggest concerns of parents that we see are their child’s privacy, approaches from strangers and how to tell when their child has had a bad experience online.”
The top tips for parents to protect their kids online:
- Build an open trusting relationship around technology so your child knows they can come to you if something goes wrong or does not feel right online
- Use parental controls in apps and devices to monitor and limit what your child does online
- Set time limits for using devices during non-school hours
- Keep your kids in open areas of the home when using their devices
- Turn on or review privacy settings to restrict who contacts your child in apps and games
Keep engaged through co-view and co-play by joining in with your child’s online activities
- Build good habits and help your child develop digital intelligence and social and emotional skills
- Empower your child with strategies to deal with negative online experiences
- Know the apps, games and social media sites that your kids are using, making sure they are age appropriate and learn how to limit the messaging and online chat and location sharing functions
- Be alert to signs of distress and know where to go for more advice and support
Catholic Education Services Support
Parents and students in the Cairns Diocese have been reminded of the importance of working safely in the online environment. The online learning tools and platforms that Catholic Education Services provide have the highest security levels.
Throughout the transition to learning from home, some teachers will be using video conferences to check in with the class and keep everyone connected, provide instruction, answer questions, host student presentations, go on virtual field trips and more. This is a common tool for collaboration in online learning and will only be initiated and hosted by teachers.
We encourage families to familiarise themselves with the two documents below:
From the start of Term 2, there will also be a bespoke helpdesk for school staff and students in the Cairns Diocese to quickly and securely access technical support while learning from home.
With this school break being spent holidaying at home, it may provide a great opportunity and the time to focus on your child’s online safety. For more information and resources around online safety, go to: www.esafety.gov.au