eSafety planning with children

Caring for your children through domestic violence or online abuse is a challenge. There are ways to help your children stay connected online while also keeping them, and you, safe.

An offline Safety Plan is an important first step. 1800 Respect can help you to develop a Safety Plan which will help ensure the abuser doesn’t become more upset and dangerous while you are making safety changes

Woman on lounge with teenage childrenSafety rules

You can work together to stay safe online. The best way to do this is by talking with your children about rules you can all follow to help keep you safe.

For younger children you can set the rules. For older children and teens, let them help you develop them. It’s important that they play a role in helping you all feel safe and to empower them. Staying safe rules could include:

  • Not posting any locations online, or share them with anyone. This includes addresses, suburb, school, clubs, shops you visit, and friends or family you visit.
  • No posting photos online for now.
  • No ‘checking in’ or check anybody else in.
  • Nobody tagging family members online until things are safer.
  • Turning off location services on devices until things are safer. This will ensure photos don’t have location embedded in them, and that the devices (and your location) can’t be tracked easily. This might mean not playing games like Pokemon Go in the short term. The most important thing is that you are all safe.
  • Become familiar with the apps and programs your children use and how to ensure they are safer. Look at our platform specific advice for help.
  • Using privacy settings on all social media accounts. See our advice on this.
  • Blocking calling displays on all devices. Look at our advice to help with this.
  • Going through the eSafety checklist with older children and teens to make sure all devices and sites are being used safely.

Children need to know

  • There are safe people who can protect them, and you. It can help to have a list of trusted family and friends with contact numbers/emails handy.
  • Safe ways to behave around the abuser to avoid triggering their anger. For example, if the abuser wants to ‘friend’ them on social media that might be unavoidable. Instead, you might set up a new account to limit what the abuser sees.
  • What information they shouldn’t share with the abuser or people who know the abuser. For example, not sharing your address, when you go out, who you are in contact with. Children and teens may need you to help them practice answers to predictable questions to help keep them safe.
  • Safe ways to communicate with others. This might include using messaging apps you agree on as long as you know all the contacts on the apps. Also, how to hide the app if the abuser is near their device.
  • Who they can talk to about how they feel. Kids Helpline and eHeadspace are valuable contacts that offer free and private counselling as needed.

If possible, it is also helpful to have a separate device that your child/ teen can use at home and at their dad’s—even if one is a very old device—so they can safely keep their contacts and communication on the home device.

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