Parents are the first port of call for most young people affected by negative experiences online but less than half of parents feel confident to manage the situation, according to new research issued today.
The report, Parenting in the digital age, conducted by the eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) explores the experience of parents and carers raising children in a fast-paced connected world.
eSafety found only 46% of Australian parents feel confident in dealing with online risks their children might face, with only one third (36%) actively seeking information on how to best manage situations like cyberbullying, unwanted contact or ‘sexting’ and ‘sending nudes’.
According to the eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, the findings reinforced the importance of providing resources to support parents and carers in managing conversations about online safety.
“We know dealing with online issues can be challenging for many parents. The issues are complex, nuanced and ever-changing and are different from what we experienced growing up,” says Inman Grant.
“The research shows 95% of parents want more information about online safety. This is why it is critical to equip parents and carers with up to date resources and advice on how to keep our children safer online. Australian parents need to know they are not alone in navigating this brave new online world and that there is constructive guidance to help them start the chat.”
“Everyone has a role to play in further safeguarding our children online and we are seeking the help of all parents, carers, educators, counsellors and anyone else that has a connection to a child or young person to answer this call.”
“eSafety has built engaging and award-winning educational content to help adults understand the issues and trends so they can have informed conversations with young people about what they are doing and experiencing online. There is no substitute for being as engaged in our kids’ online lives the way we are in their everyday lives,” says Inman Grant.
The report also uncovered the varied parenting styles used to help manage online safety in the home. Parents with older children were more likely to favour an open parenting style, providing guidance and advice, while parents with younger children were more likely to adopt a restrictive approach by controlling online access and setting rules around internet-use.
“There is no one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to parenting in the digital-age. Our materials seek to accommodate these differing parenting styles and are tailored to be used in accordance with your child’s age, maturity and level of resilience,” adds Inman Grant.
Now is the time to start the chat. Visit eSafety.gov.au for a free copy of the report, as well as tools, tips and advice for parents, carers and educators to help manage these conversations, including tailored information for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders as well as resources in various translated languages.