Screen Smart Parent Tour: facts and tips
Social media fact: On average, children aged 10 to 14 years have 2 active social media accounts
1. 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.
2. 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.
3. 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 social media if you talk about what others (their friends and peers) are doing online.
Screen time fact: On average, outside of school, 10 to 14 year olds spend 23 hours online per week
1. Try to encourage positive screen time, like content that you can view and enjoy together. Discourage anything that is overly aggressive or disrespectful.
2. Negotiate key rules together, such as when screens can be on and when they need to be turned off. Young teens are likely to respond better to rules that they’ve contributed to and see as being fair and consistent.
3. Agree ahead of time on the rules and strategies to get your child to switch off from the screen. With gaming, think about a timer that signals that game time is nearly over and be clear about the consequences for not switching off.
Personal information Fact: 12% of 10 to 14 year olds share personal information online
1. Get your child on side with online privacy by exploring how their personal information can be used now and in the future.
2. 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.
3. Get involved—play along with your child to get a feel for how they are managing their online privacy in the gaming world.
Inappropriate content (the nasty stuff! – like violence, offensive or sexually explicit material) Fact: 9% of 10 to 14 year olds reported being exposed to inappropriate content
1. Be vigilant, especially if your child is prone to taking risks or is emotionally or psychologically vulnerable.
2. You can use parental controls, filtering software and safe searches (like Google Safe Search) to help block some of the nasty stuff. Remind your child not to open spam email or click on pop-ups.
3. Keep your child connected to trusted friends and family online and offline and discuss the importance of healthy and respectful relationships.
Cyberbullying Fact: 21% of 10 to 14 year olds reported being socially excluded by others online (one form of cyberbullying)
1. Young people might not tell their parents about cyberbullying. They may be embarrassed or worried you might overreact, restrict access to devices or make things worse if they speak out. Try to respond calmly. Listen first, then act.
2. Be aware—key signs can include being upset after using devices, changes in personality, a decline in school work and appearing lonely and distressed. \
3. Report serious cyberbullying material to the social media service where it happened. You can also submit a complaint to us if the reported material has not been taken down within 48 hours.
Contact with strangers Fact: 36% of 10 to 14 year olds said they had talked to strangers online
1. Help your child understand why it’s important to be vigilant about new online ‘friends’. Someone who says they are a 12-year-old girl or boy could actually be a 40-year-old man!
2. Encourage your child to tell you or another trusted adult if they feel uncomfortable or worried about online contact with a stranger—there are tools in social media and in online gaming that can help block people.
3. 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. You can also use your phone to take a quick photo of their device with the message.
Help and resources
If your child is distressed and needs further help as a result of a negative online experience:
Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 Free online and telephone counselling for children and young people aged 5 to 25 years.
eHeadspace: 1800 650 890 Free online and telephone counselling for young people aged 12 to 25 years.
Parentline: 1300 30 1300 Parentline provides help through counselling, information and referral that is tailored to your needs.