3 Strategies To Keep Your Kids Safe Online
Help your children safely navigate their digital world and educate them to avoid harmful online experiences. Explore websites, games, apps and social media together and set some rules. Your support and guidance can give your children the confidence to make sound decisions online ― and ask for help when they need it.
Three key strategies from the eSafety Commissioner
Be engaged, open and supportive
- Get involved. Share online time with your children as part of family life. Play games together. Talk about favourite apps, games or websites.
- Keep lines of communication open. Ask about their online experiences, who they are talking to and whether they are having any issues.
- Reassure your child they can always come to you, no matter what. Let them know you will not cut off internet access if they report feeling uncomfortable or unsafe when online ― this is a real concern that may stop your child from communicating with you openly.
- If you notice a change in behaviour or mood, talk to your child about it. If you are concerned, consider seeking professional help ― from your GP, a psychologist or school counsellor.
Set some rules
- Set age-appropriate rules for devices and online access, with consequences for breaking them.
- Ensure your child’s input — this will help them understand risks. As they get older you can review your rules together.
- Consider creating a family tech agreement (sometimes called a family media plan or family online safety agreement). A family tech agreement is a set of rules about how devices, like smartphones, tablets, computers, TVs and gaming consoles are used in your home. It is written down and agreed to by all family members and kept in a place where everyone can see it, such as on the fridge.
- Your family tech agreement could cover the type of websites that can be visited, time spent online and acceptable online behaviour.
- eSafety has created their own version of a Family Tech Agreement, in collaboration with ABC KIDS, especially designed for families with children under 5. You can download this and fill it in with your family.
- The consequences for breaking the rules should be clear. Negotiate these with your child when you create your agreement so they mean something to them — Raising Children Network has some useful tips and advice.
- Consider making some ‘rules for parents’ too — and stick to them! Model behaviour that you would like to see.
Use the available technology
- Get to know the devices you and your children use and set them up for privacy and online safety. Take advantage of parental controls to monitor and control screen time and access to content in ways appropriate to your child’s age and experience. See our guide to taming the technology.
- Choose apps and games carefully, taking age ratings and consumer advice into account. Check the App Store or Google Play, and for games, the Australian Classification Board’s online database. NetAware (UK) has a comprehensive guide to popular social media apps and games. The Australian Council on Children and the Media and Common Sense Media (US) both offer information about apps, games and websites searchable by age.
Get help and support
Raising Children Network
Advice for parents and carers, including articles, videos and apps backed by experts.
5 to 25 year olds. All issues. Confidential phone counselling available all day, every day. Online chat available 8am to 12am EST daily.
Call 1800 55 1800 or visit their online chat.
1. Get creative with Minions
What is it?
Kids go bananas for Minions (pun intended) and these school holidays they can express their fandom making a Minions movie using stop-motion animation techniques. Over 2 days, kids create their own Minions clay characters and design their own film set. The magic begins when they see their characters come to life by taking multiple images of objects and stitching them together to look like they’re moving! - It’s incredibly fun!
If they watch their favourite animated movies on repeat, they’ll love creating Minions clay figurines and developing their own story, taking lots of still frames and stitching them together to create their very first movie!
2. Become a DJ
What is it?
Children will take their first steps into the exciting world of mixing music to create their own DJ set.
Kids will love mixing their favourite pop tunes using beat matching and transitions on real DJ decks. Plus, they will design their own DJ brand, develop branded merch, and even perform a DJ set to their friends!
3. Pilot a drone
What is it?
Kids learn to pilot a drone using coding to design a flight path and watch in wonder as the drone takes flight!
If your kid shows an interest in drones, they can learn more than just the basics of flying. Kids get a taste of cutting-edge technology and learn about coding, problem-solving, engineering, design, and more. They’ll learn about drone tech and safety, movie making, and discover how drones have a positive social impact when used to fight bushfires, rescue koalas, spot sharks on the coast and loads more!
4. Become a YouTuber
What is it?
While they may not end up with YouTube stardom, we’re sure kids will have a new lens on screen time. They will be equipped with the skills to start producing and directing their own ideas instead of simply watching other people's! Plus, they’ll gain confidence ‘performing’ in front of audiences and on set and importantly, learn about staying safe online.
Taking a YouTube fixation and turning it into something incredibly productive where kids will learn planning, storytelling, filming and video editing to become the star in their very own YouTube-style videos.
5. Produce a LEGO movie
What is it?
Turn hours of playing with LEGO characters into an even more creative pursuit, by teaching kids to create their own LEGO Movie.
They can use their favourite LEGO characters and sets, come up with a fun storyline and use stop-motion techniques to produce a short animation film. It will transform the way they play at home and offer endless hours of creativity for the rest of the holidays.
6. Code a game
What is it?
Kids can design their own arcade-style video games (like Super Mario Bros), jam-packed with cool characters like zombies and unicorns, and awesome gaming features such as invisibility cloaks and shrinking potions. They’ll learn drag and drop code and logic to connect all the design elements together and bring their games to life!
Kids are spending countless hours on Roblox and Minecraft these days. Get them to spark their creative side instead, by producing their own original games, using a combination of creative level design, storytelling and problem-solving to bring their creations to life. It’s so much fun, they won’t realise they are actually learning some very important coding and tech skills for their future.