Screen Smart Parent Tour

Select any topic to get started. You can close at any time during the tour and pick up where you left off.

Don't have time now? Download our facts and tips

Social Media / Q1

Let’s take a look at some popular social media and messaging apps. Tick the ones you know your child uses (on their account or yours).

Don’t sweat the small stuff!

75

of parents say their child uses two or more social media apps.

Most teens use multiple apps to connect with friends.

You can’t control every aspect of their social media use, but you can focus on keeping the lines of communication open with them in case problems arise.

Talk regularly with your child about privacy settings on social media. Updating your own privacy settings sets a great example and helps you understand potential safety issues. Be aware of any minimum age requirements.

You can find out more about privacy settings and minimum age requirements at the end of the tour through our ‘Games, apps and social networking’ link.

Social Media / Q2

Do you agree with this statement?

'I find it hard to keep up with the latest social media apps and sites.'

Staying on top of every new app can be a full time job...

69

of parents ‘agree’ that it’s hard to keep up with new apps.

Social media apps are constantly evolving and some teens might prefer apps that they can call their own—that mum and dad aren’t using.

Keep your ears and eyes open. Other parents and the media can be a great source of information when it comes to the latest or most preferred app.

Let your child know that you’re really interested in how they’re connecting with friends. They might be more inclined to talk openly about the latest apps and trends if you talk about what others (their friends and peers) are doing online.

Social Media / Q3

Would you say that this statement applies to your child?

'I’d rather give up a kidney than my mobile phone!'

‘My precious’ device...

34

of parents say that this statement ‘somewhat’ applies to their child.

Teens rely heavily on their mobile phones and other devices to connect with friends.

Our research shows that most teens see the internet as being very important in their lives, with 96% of 10 to 14 year olds using social media.

They see it as a good way to connect and keep up to date with friends. They also like to use social media to plan their social life and for entertainment and self-expression.

You can learn more about popular apps at the end of this tour.

Screen Time / Q1

How many hours does your child spend on a screen each day outside of doing school work?

Think watching TV, DVDs, YouTube or Netflix, using computers, playing games on consoles or mobile devices, even texting.

Let’s face it, screens are a big part of their lives...

57

of parents say their child spends 2 or more hours a day on a screen.

Being in front of a screen can offer positive benefits for your child, like research for homework and increasing social interaction. But how much is too much?

Australian experts recommend no more than 2 hours per day of entertainment screen time for children aged 5 to 17 years.

The reality is that a lot of children spend more than 2 hours a day in front of a screen. But there still needs to be limits.

If your child spends a lot of time in front of the screen, then try to encourage positive screen time, like content that you can view and enjoy together. Discourage anything that is overly aggressive or disrespectful.

Screen time / Q2

How confident do you feel in helping your child manage their online time?

The urge for young teens to connect and stay online can be powerful...

21

of parents are 'very' confident in helping their child manage online time.

For some teens their online life is more important than real life. They don’t want to miss out!

Discuss the risks of too much online time with your child, like risking obesity, trouble sleeping and problems at school.

Negotiate key rules, such as when screens can be on and when they need to be turned off.

Research shows that setting ground rules together can be helpful. Teens are likely to respond better to rules that they’ve contributed to and see as being fair and consistent, especially if you are also sticking to the rules that apply to you!

Screen Time / Q3

Do you agree with the statement?

'I often find it hard to get my child to stop playing their online game, especially during family time.'

Getting your child to switch off can be really hard work...

56

of parents ‘agree’ that it’s hard to get their child to stop playing.

Gaming can be fun and educational, but if it’s often getting in the way of school work, family time and offline activities, there may be a problem.

Games are designed to hook your child into playing and to keep playing. Telling them to switch off and walk away is unlikely to work, especially if they are halfway through a quest or challenge.

It’s a good idea to agree ahead of time on the rules and strategies for them to switch off, like a timer that signals that game time is nearly over and the consequences for not switching off.

If you’re worried that gaming is taking over your child’s life, then professional advice can help. You and your child can get extra support from:

  • the GP, a psychologist or the school counsellor
  • Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800
  • Parentline on 1300 30 1300

Personal Information / Q1

Personal information can include our full name, address (even street or area), phone number, school details, age and email address.

Do you know how your child protects their online privacy?

Once it’s out there we can’t always control who sees and shares our information...

23

of parents don't know how their child protects their online privacy.

Teens often think in terms of the here and now so online privacy may not be a priority.

Our research tells us teens are getting better with managing online privacy, but it’s still important that your child understands what personal information is and how it can be used now and in the future.

Have regular conversations about privacy and agree on rules about what kinds of information they share online.

Personal Information / Q2

Your child has posted a photo on Facebook showing them in uniform in front of their school.
The school’s name is clearly visible.

What actions do you take? (You can pick one or more)

When your child puts too much on show it can be risky...

90

of parents saw a problem with the photo and would take some action.

Personal information like where you live or your child’s school can make them vulnerable to contact with strangers.

Encourage your child to think carefully before sharing images that can reveal personal information.

If you have your own social media account, think about the types of photos and information you share. Do you post photos of your child that show details of their school, sporting club or other activities? Take the opportunity to review your own habits and model safe online behaviour.

Personal Information / Q3

You hear on the news that a 12-year-old girl met with an adult stranger after sharing her age and home address in an online game. Her gamer ‘friend’ pretended to be the same age and wanted to give her a birthday present.

What actions would you take to ensure this doesn’t happen to your child? (You can pick one or more)

Gaming can be fun, but not when your child shares too much...

96

of parents would take some action.

Even if you’re sure your child won’t share their personal details, it doesn’t hurt to have a chat with them about their gaming friends and the types of information they share.

Networked games involve multiple players (in some cases even hundreds or thousands of players). With these games, your child could be communicating with strangers (including adults) through web cam, private messaging or online chat, increasing the risk of contact from predators.

Get involved—play along with your child to get a feel for how they are managing their online privacy. Find out who they talk to and play with, and what kinds of information they share.

Remind your child to never give out personal information and make the most of any privacy features and parental controls. Encourage your child to use an avatar or other image with a screen name that doesn’t reveal their real name.

Inappropriate Content / Q1

How comfortable are you in talking to your child about viewing inappropriate content?

This might include violent, offensive or sexually explicit material.

These type of conversations can be awkward, especially if sex is involved!

84

of parents are 'very' or 'moderately' confident in talking to their child about inappropriate content.

Teens may encounter inappropriate content accidentally or deliberately. It's normal to be curious, especially during adolescence, but they may encounter concepts they’re not ready for.

Parental controls on devices can help block access to specific websites and filter sexual content. You can access information on blocking and filtering safeguards at the end of the tour.

But it’s also important to talk about which sites and apps are okay for them to explore and which aren’t. Teens need to understand why they shouldn’t visit certain sites. Age-appropriate conversations about sexualised content can help your child better handle these risks and reinforce the importance of respectful relationships.

We have a range of conversation tips and aids that can help make this conversation less awkward. See the link to our ‘Online pornography’ information at the end of the tour.

Inappropriate Content / Q2

How easy do you think it is for your child to access inappropriate content on their computer and/or device?

Remember, kids may not deliberately seek out inappropriate content...

57

of parents say it’s ‘very’ easy for their child to access inappropriate content.

Sometimes it’s only a couple of clicks away.

There are many ways your child can come across explicit content online. It can happen through clicking on links in phishing or spam emails, missed keystrokes (or misspelled words), dodgy links and pop-ups (even on harmless websites), or even through friends or siblings who share inappropriate content.

Encourage your child to think of ways to avoid this content—ask them for ideas about how to keep safe. Suggestions could include; avoid using keywords that could lead to similar content, install parental controls on devices, use Google Safe Search and keep devices in the family room. Remind your child not to open spam email or click on pop-ups.

Inappropriate Content / Q3

Your child tells you that they’ve seen something horrible online.

What actions do you take? (You can pick one or more)

Violent, offensive and sexual material can impact your child’s well-being...

97

of parents would take some action and most would talk to their child and help with filtering and safe searches.

Some content can be distressing for teens, even if they think they are ready to see it. Removing online access at home is unlikely to help.

Try not to remove your child’s device or online access, as they will see it as punishment.

Encourage your child to talk to you or another trusted adult if they see anything upsetting. It’s important to be supportive and to acknowledge how upsetting it can be to see this type of content. Does your child feel good, bad, safe, scared, uncomfortable, curious, repulsed or something else? Any or all of these feelings are normal reactions.

Be vigilant, especially if your child is prone to taking risks or is emotionally or psychologically vulnerable.

Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800 can provide professional support 24 hours a day.

Cyberbullying / Q1

Which of these would you consider to be cyberbullying? Pick as many as you like.

These are just a few examples. Cyberbullying can take many forms...

93

of parents think three or more of the listed behaviours are cyberbullying.

Awareness is the first step in helping your child.

It’s normal for teens to fall out with friends. When online taunts become constant and are intended to hurt, threaten or embarrass, they probably cross the line into cyberbullying behaviour.

Social exclusion tends to be the most common form of cyberbullying that teens experience and it can be devastating and hard to identify when this is happening to your child.

Cyberbullying / Q2

How confident are you that your child would open up to you if they were being cyberbullied?

It can be hard for teens to talk about this...

71

of parents are ‘very’ or ‘moderately’ confident their child would tell them about being cyberbullied.

Teens don’t always let on about being cyberbullied, no matter how painful the situation. Why?

Your child may be embarrassed or worried you might overreact, restrict access to devices or make things worse if they speak out.

Keep lines of communication open with your child. If something does happen, try to respond calmly. Listen first, then act.

Cyberbullying / Q3

Your child has suddenly stopped hanging out with friends, seems upset after checking their phone and has missed handing in homework.

Should you be concerned?

Cyberbullying can leave deep emotional scars...

89

of parents say they would be concerned.

Sudden changes in behaviour could indicate cyberbullying.

You know your child best, but be proactive and aware. Key signs can include being upset after using devices, changes in personality, a decline in school work and appearing lonely and distressed.

If your child is affected by cyberbullying, it’s important that you help them report it to the social media service. We also encourage you and/or your child to report serious cyberbullying to us using our complaints form (see link at the end of the tour). Depending on the case, we can help get the material taken down.

We also work closely with parents, schools and police to help stop the cyberbullying and to make sure your child has access to support services, like Kids Helpline (on 1800 55 1800).

Our Young & eSafe site can also help your child build a more positive online experience through key skills, like resilience, respect and empathy. See links to this site and other important cyberbullying resources at the end of the tour.

Contact with strangers / Q1

You notice that your child has over 100 Facebook friends. Some are friends from school, but you don’t know who the others are and some look a lot older than your child.

How confident do you feel in talking to your child about trusting strangers online?

Being in contact with new people can be exciting for your child, but there are risks...

67

of parents are ‘very’ confident in talking to their child about trusting strangers online.

The urge for your child to accept or invite friendships with people they don’t know in real life can be strong.

Most teens want to be cool and popular, especially in social media where you can see the number of ‘friends’ and ‘likes’ they have.

Accepting contacts or ‘friends’ that they don’t know allows strangers to see your child’s personal information and images. Sometimes this may be harmless, but there’s a risk of someone wanting to establish a relationship that could be harmful to your child.

Help your child understand why it’s important to keep some information private and to be vigilant about who they accept as friends to prevent any problems.

Help your child use the tools in their accounts to block, delete or report anyone – a stranger or even a person they know - who makes them feel uncomfortable.

Contact with strangers / Q2

Let’s say your child posted provocative photos of themselves on their social media account.

What actions do you take? (You can pick one or more)

Seeing your child in a ‘sexy’ pose can be really confronting!

10

of parents would take away their internet access.

Teens might think that they are being mature or funny using provocative images or language, without realising that this could attract undesirable attention.

When this happens, try not to clamp down. Why?

Most teens have online access outside of home and may look for workaround strategies if access is denied at home. You can’t monitor them 24/7, so help them to understand the impact of posting this type of material.

Get them to think twice about posting images like this:

  • ‘Do I really want the whole world to see this?’
  • ‘Do I really want to risk being contacted by strangers and possibly online predators?’

Contact with strangers / Q3

Your child has been chatting to someone online who they thought was the same age. The conversation started to get a bit weird and they are now worried about information they have shared.

How confident do you feel in supporting your child through this experience?

This can be a scary experience for your child...

54

of parents are ‘very’ confident in supporting their child through this experience.

Reassure your child that you will support them no matter what they shared online.

Work with your child to save examples of the messages in case you want to follow up with the police.

Taking screenshots is easy, use the print screen (PrtScrn) button on your computer or the Shift-Command-4 function on a Mac. Help your child take a screen shot on their mobile devices.

Use tools that let you and your child block and report users that are being inappropriate or make your child feel uncomfortable.

Contact your local police if you believe that your child has been approached online by an adult and you suspect it may be grooming.

Congratulations! You’ve finished the tour

As you can see, there are lots of things you can do to help keep your child safe online, and small steps can make a big difference. Most importantly, keep communication channels open with your child and lead by example.

For our key facts and tips:

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