On-Line Safety Basics

The eSafetyCommissioner website has some terrific resources for parents to help navigate and educate children about being online safely.

With parent and teacher support and guidance, we can give the children the confidence to make good decisions when they are online and to ask for help when they need it. 

Three key strategies for basic safety:

  1. Be engaged, open and supportive

    • Get involved. Share online time with your children as part of family life. Play games together. Talk about favourite apps, games or websites.
    • Keep lines of communication open. Ask about their online experiences, who they are talking to and whether they are having any issues.
    • Reassure your child they can always come to you, no matter what. Let them know you will not cut off internet access if they report feeling uncomfortable or unsafe when online ― this is a real concern that may stop your child from communicating with you openly.
    • If you notice a change in behaviour or mood, talk to your child about it. If you are concerned, consider seeking professional help ― from your GP, a psychologist or school counsellor.
  2. Set some rules

    • Set age-appropriate rules for devices and online access, with consequences for breaking them.
    • Ensure your child’s input — this will help them understand risks. As they get older you can review your rules together. 
    • Consider creating a family tech agreement (sometimes called a family media plan or family online safety agreement). A family tech agreement is a set of rules about how devices, like smartphones, tablets, computers, TVs and gaming consoles are used in your home. It is written down and agreed to by all family members and kept in a place where everyone can see it, such as on the fridge.
    • Your family tech agreement could cover the type of websites that can be visited, time spent online and acceptable online behaviour. 
    • eSafety has created our own version of a Family Tech Agreement, in collaboration with ABC KIDS, especially designed for families with children under 5. You can download this and fill it in with your family. Another example, from ThinkUKnow Australia, can also be a good starting point for families with older children.
    • The consequences for breaking the rules should be clear. Negotiate these with your child when you create your agreement so they mean something to them — Raising Children Network has some useful tips and advice.
    • Consider making some ‘rules for parents’ too — and stick to them! Model behaviour that you would like to see.
  3. Use the available technology