​11 Easy tips to keep yourself and your children safe online

The internet is great for many things. Bullying is, unfortunately, one of them.

In recent years, Australia has been ranked #1 globally for bullying on social media showing that parental monitoring is not enough. The internet is a great place to learn, be entertained, share and communicate, but not so great at protecting against bullying.

Children and young people are increasingly gaining access to the internet via their mobiles, yet only a very-small percentage have discussed cyber-safety with their parents.

You only have to chat to kids, parents and teachers to know the issue of cyberbullying is getting worse and the wrong use of social media can have a catastrophic and permanent impact on children and their families

Without being too dramatic, we should keep in mind that there is a lot of data out there proving that parents invest time in talking to their kids about road safety but avoid conversations about how to stay safe online.

Parents can ensure their kids have enjoyable and safe online experiences by talking to them and avoid judging, overreacting, or panicking about anything they hear.

Here are 11 tips to help keep your kids safe online:

1. Be a positive role model and be aware that children like to imitate your behavior.

2. Set up ‘House Rules’ about how computers, smartphones and gaming systems are used at home.

3. Do not share private information like passwords, names, addresses and phone numbers with people you don’t know.

4. Install parental control software such as Norton Family (it’s free) to limit the sites your child can access when you aren’t around, or on devices that disappear into backpacks and bedrooms. You can also limit sensitive information that you don’t want your child sharing.

5. Use privacy options wisely on social media.

6. Keep computers and mobile devices visible in the house. For example no computers in the bedrooms but in the living area.

7. Use strong, unique passwords on all your accounts and devices, especially mobile phones and install security software on all devices. Make sure you use a combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, symbols and numbers for passwords and don’t use “123456” or the word “password,” as your password. Many people do.

8. Google yourself or kids or search your own personal information to help spot cyberbullying.

9. Think before you click, always check what you are sending before you send it, think about it from the recipients’ point of view.

10. Always keep in mind that anything you put on the internet such as a photo, video, text, comment or document is recorded for ever, even after deleting them on your own device.

11. Learn how to block and report other profiles on sites like Facebook and Twitter.

The key to keeping yourself and your children safe online is to have an open-minded and be interested in digital life.