PARENT TIPS DURING LOCKDOWN
Schooling online and spending more time online during lockdowns should not mean that kids have free reign. When talking with your kids about their time online, try always to be positive and be open. Put healthy boundaries in place immediately. It is essential to know and understand that many of the same behaviours that keep children safe offline can help keep children safe online. Here are a just few tips: During the lockdowns in 2020, online predatory behaviour towards Australian children skyrocketed to over 122% (quoted by the ACCCE). Now is an excellent opportunity to talk to your kids about what they are doing online, safe and age-appropriate platforms, and the steps they take to stay safe online. Make sure they can tell you without fear of being banned from their devices if anything happens online that makes them feel weird in the tummy, upsets them in any way or they see something confronting. Agree on how much time your kids spend online in addition to their schoolwork. Include how long they can play games, what group chats they are allowed to use, and how long they spend on them. Ban devices at dinner for the whole family…parents, including no devices after a particular time. Encouraging and constantly reinforcing positive social values is extremely important. We all need to be kind, respectful, and responsible online at all times. Understanding why this is so important can help keep kids safe online. Use Safe Search options that most browsers and standard search engines have (usually under the 'Settings' menu) and parental controls on devices, especially for younger children. Know where to seek help and assistance for both you and your child if you should need it. To report severe Cyber Bullying, Image-Based Abuse, Illegal and Harmful Content, and Adult Online Abuse, visit www.esafety.gov.au; if contact includes threats of harm, suspicion of grooming, and child exploitation, contact your local police or Crimestoppers immediately. You must be aware of any signs of your child being distressed. It is also vital that your child can contact and access support, for example, through the kids helpline. https://kidshelpline.com.au/ or phone 1800 551 800 It is worthwhile going to their website and printing out their details and sticking them on the fridge. For adults contact: Beyond Blue – https://www.beyondblue.org.au/ or 1300 224 636 Lifeline - https://www.lifeline.org.au/ or 131114 Be careful not to share photos that may compromise your child or affect their privacy and protection during lockdown when sharing your own stories and pictures. It may seem like a great way to stay connected but always think of your kids' privacy first. If you have a child into gaming, try online gaming to connect with your kids during a lockdown. This can be a valuable way to talk about their world and what is important to them. It is crucial that you also find some time to do offline activities with children and encourage them to do things that we often don't get a chance to, like baking, craft, art, and gardening. You can shop online and have clay, contraptions to press and dry flowers, and everything online. You might find that your kids find a new passion that isn't online! Let us know what you would like help with, and we will answer any questions and create resources to help you through this time. Take Care – Kirra & the Safe on Social team.