Global Online Safety Advice for Parents and Carers
As parents and carers, you have the best opportunity to support and guide your children to avoid online risks and have safer experiences.
Keeping children safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic
The global impact of COVID-19 means young people will be spending more time at home — and more time online. There are lots of great ways children can use connected devices to learn and play, but there are also risks.
As parents and carers, you have the best opportunity to support and guide your children to avoid online risks and have safer experiences. Governments and industry also have a role to play in making sure the online world is a safe place to be.
In these uncertain times, children may feel isolated or anxious, and might see family members disturbed by the COVID-19 impacts. Away from school, children have less access to their usual support systems including friends, teachers and counsellors. If possible, it could be useful to reach out to your child’s regular support people to check if they can provide online or telephone support.
This guide covers some of the key online safety issues for young people and includes a range of practical tips and advice on what to do if things go wrong. It covers common online safety issues like managing time online, using parent controls and setting and responding to issues like cyberbullying, inappropriate content, sending nudes and contact from strangers.
How to help kids stay safe online
Even if you are at home together, it is not possible to monitor your child’s online activities every second of the day. It is important to talk with them about online safety issues to help develop their critical thinking and ability to make good choices.
Here are 10 top tips to help protect your children online.
Help seeking and self-care
We are all living in extraordinary times, dealing with changes in the way we interact and live. Even if your health has not been directly impacted by COVID-19, the physical restrictions, emotional stresses and financial pressure may be making it difficult to cope — and for many people, keeping children home is adding to the tension.
What can I do to look after myself?
- Seek out targeted advice for parents and carers to support you during times of isolation and confinement.
- Allow extra time for everything: with fewer people providing customer service and more shopping online for groceries, medicines and deliveries of food there are likely to be delays and cancellations. Plan ahead and think of some alternatives in case what you want is unavailable.
- Long periods of time at home with family members (or housemates) can strain even the best relationships and make negative ones far worse.
- Online social contact can be a lifeline. However, if you are experiencing domestic or family violence,
remember that devices and digital technology can be used for technology-facilitated abuse, so it is important to take steps to increase your personal safety when it is safe to do so.
If you think a friend or family member is having a difficult time at home during this challenging period try to help them while protecting yourself — as a start, you could share the information in this section with them.
This material has been adapted with permission from the Australian Government eSafety Commissioner. Permission to adapt content does not constitute endorsement of material by the eSafety Commissioner.