CyberSafe Parents

Thank you to all those parents who attended our ‘CyberSafe Parents’ evening on Tuesday 28th August.  Over 50 attendees enjoyed presentations from the ACMA CyberSmart outreach and Police Task Force Argos.  The topics covered where wide ranging and shed some light on what teenagers are facing when using the internet.  A couple of important aspects that emerged from the evening were:

  1. Develop a family policy for use of the internet on computers and other devices.  A good place to start is the ‘Who’s Chatting to your kids?’ guide from the Queensland Police Force, which has a house rule section at the back, and excellent guidance on the current threats online.  This booklet really is a summary of the evening from both presenters
  2. The first instinct is to ban all social networking if your child comes to you with an example of bullying or inappropriate content.  This reaction will only prevent any reporting in the future and possibly make the use of online communications more secretive.  Encourage reporting and promote safe strategies to deal with online threats

As the holidays approach, your children will have more unsupervised time on their computers, tablets and phones.  If you haven’t put into place your family guidelines, do it before the break and before it is too late.  If you want to read a story that hammers this necessity home, click here.

Instagram is new phone based app that is linked to Facebook and is used by many young to send an image, with added effects, and comment on other images.  It is a nice way to allow family and friends, but like all technology, can be abused.  If your child is on Instagram, ask to look at their photo stream.  If they politely (or impolitely decline) it is probably a good indication that there are things on there that they don’t want you to see.  Here are some tips for Instagram:

  1. Avoid the ‘flirty’ images and usernames
  2. Make the account private so that random people cannot follow you
  3. Turn off the geo-locator that tags every photo taken and displays it on a map to your followers
  4. Don’t post images (or screenshots of text conversations) without the permission of other parties
  5. Be respectful and appropriate when commenting
  6. Avoid photos that show landmarks, street names and College uniforms (or anything that can identify your routine)
  7. Create an account and follow your child
  8. Reiterate – anything posted can be copied and passed on forever and without control