In today’s sometimes overwhelming digital age, the pressures for parents to keep on top of their children’s online behaviours has risen tremendously.
According to new research, Australia’s mums and dads have reported feeling guilty, anxious and embarrassed when it comes to their children’s online habits.
The report found that 70% of parents report feeling anxious and guilty for not knowing what their children get up to online. With a further seven-in-10 Aussie parents also admitting to letting their children browse the internet unaccompanied and one-third of Aussies anxious or embarrassed about the issue, particularly when it comes to the topic of chat room strangers, sexually explicit and violent content.
In order to help bridge the gap, child psychologist Dr Kimberley O’Brien aims to help educate Australian parents on safer internet use, providing us with her 5 top tips below.
Dr Kimberley O’Brien’s Internet Safety Tips for Parents
1. Use a parental-control app.
Set boundaries by using a parental-control app, like FamilyEye by Yomojo, to help track, monitor and protect your child’s safety online.
2. Be consistent when it comes to online house rules.
It is important for parents to live by the same set of rules and disciplines when it comes to online use. Have regular conversations with your partner to ensure alignment on values and consistency of message. This united front will help children play by your guidelines.
3. Set limits on your own screen use.
And don’t forget, children are constantly learning from what they see. In the home, display what healthy internet and smartphone use looks like – and this behaviour also gives you more uninterrupted time together.
4. Keep children’s laptops and phones where you can see them.
Ask kids to keep their devices visible – using them in the family living room – rather than in their bedrooms or private study areas.
5. Be mindful when children are on playdates.
Remember, while you may have your own rules at home, these may not apply when your child is in the company of extended family or their friends. Check-in with the other parents and have an open discussion about boundaries around internet use – before the playdate.