Online safety for children more crucial than ever
Life Ed has appealed for parents to heighten their vigilance when it comes to protecting children from the dangers of the internet.
LEA CEO Kellie Sloane said families should be alive to the increased risks of screen time due to COVID.
“The digital world has been so positive in so many ways during the pandemic, especially with online and remote learning, but with more use comes greater exposure to the threats on the web,” Ms Sloane said.
“Children need to be protected from a range of online risks from inappropriate content to cyberbullying,” she said.
Life Education works closely with the eSafety Commissioner to keep parents informed on cyber safety. The Commission has reported a 30% increase in cyber bullying since the COVID outbreak.
Cyberbullying is one of our biggest concerns, mostly stemming from the school yard and resulting in abusive messages, hurtful images and nasty online gossip
KELLIE SLOANE – CEO LIFE EDUCATION AUSTRALIA
Parents can respond quickly to cyberbullying if they recognise the following behaviours in their child.
- Being upset after using the internet or their mobile phone
- Changes in personality, such as becoming more withdrawn
- Anxious, sad or angry
- Appearing lonely or distressed
- Unexpected changes in friendship groups
- A decline in their school work
- Changes in their sleep patterns
- Avoidance of school or clubs
- A decline in their physical health
- Becoming secretive about their online activities and
- Mobile phone use
Parents are urged to maintain their accessibility to the online accounts of their children and look-out for access to inappropriate and illegal content, and maintain structure and routines for their children by:
- Enforcing bed, study and screen time
- Limiting social media
- Blocking adult content
- Tracking smart devices
- Ensuring parental access
- Policing in-house purchases
“We also have to do our best to make sure our kids are engaged in extracurricular activities – and minimise their screen time to enhance their physical and mental health,” Ms Sloane said.
“Obesity is another problem linked to sedentary screen time – so sport, dancing and other physical pastimes outside school hours can be hugely beneficial.”