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Keep your kids safe online this Christmas

 
This summer many children may increase their Internet use through devices such as laptops, tablets or smart phone devices. Some may even be getting these items for Christmas and using them for the first time, so it’s important to remember the simple ways to keep children safe online.

Pre-School Aged Children
This age group is just beginning to learn how the computer works and the joy it can have. This includes visiting children's websites and sharing friendly emails to family and friends. Be sure to sit with your child during this learning stage and choose websites which are suitable for your child's age group.

Primary School Aged Children 
Increasingly, primary school aged children need access to the Internet for school work. Children of this age feel more confident using other services provided by the Internet such as chat rooms, with some deciding to search for prohibited material. Your children will also notice marketing material and it is extremely important for your children to know not to give out personal information or details. Spend some time researching the Internet and how to keep your child safe. By making their time on the internet a family activity, you will be able to maintain very close supervision, while teaching them safe online behaviour.

High School Aged Children
This is the age group where the Internet is a necessity to assist your children with research for projects and homework. Your child will want more independence and freedom while using the Internet, while their email and instant messaging contacts will grow. This age group may also feel they want to explore prohibited material. While it is more difficult to keep tight supervision on what your teenager is doing online, it is vital that you stay in touch with them and discuss any issues that may occur. Keeping the computer in a public area in your home can assist with this. Get to know the services your teenager uses, and develop reasonable computer usage rules with them.

Internet enabled smart phones
Children with mobile phones give their parents piece of mind knowing they can contact them at any time, but many mobile phones now have access to the Internet and present the same online safety issues as a computer making it near impossible to supervise your child at all times.

If you decide that your child needs a mobile phone, make sure the device you purchase for them is appropriate for their age and experience. Consider purchasing a phone without Internet access or plan. There are also certain blocks you can put on the phone to stop the user accessing the Internet and Bluetooth. This will in turn protect your child against hackers who can track your child's location (as the phone is 'always on’).

Click here to watch a video of Shaun Gallagher from Queensland Police Service’s Task Force Argos showing Robin Bailey from 97.3FM how to set up your iOS devices to ensure they’re child-friendly. 
 
Need to talk to someone?  Call the Bravehearts info and support line on 1800 272 831.