While the internet offers an exciting world of experiences for kids and teens, it is important to be mindful that they could:
- experience cyber-bullying
- be exposed to inappropriate or harmful content
- be at risk from contact with strangers
- unknowingly or deliberately share personal information without realising they may be subject to identity theft, or that they are leaving behind an online footprint that might not reflect well on them in the future.
Many companies check to see if job applicants have online profiles. Be aware that the photos and information you share with your friends may not be what you want a prospective employer to see.
Resources for Kids and Teens
There are lots of online resources to help kids and teens understand how to stay safe online.
- Budd:e Primary - Budd:e for primary schools offers fun and engaging games and activities to build unique robots, while introducing basic practices that will equip children to stay safe and secure online. Topics include privacy, password creation, protecting personal details, virus scanning, secure websites, and scams.
- Budd:e Secondary - Budd:e for secondary schools explores advanced online safety and security topics, including: creating content, file sharing, pop-ups, privacy, sharing, scams, spam, spyware, malware, phishing, online transactions and computer viruses. Students can earn points answering questions to 'buy' parts and accessories to build a unique cyborg that can be used as an avatar on social networking sites.
- Cybersafety help – Information and Cybersafety help button.
- Cybersmart - Information and education to empower children to be safe online.
- Hector's World – A fun resource for younger children to learn about internet safety.
- ThinkUKnow - Internet safety program.
Resources for Teachers
The Budd:e Education Package is a series of media-rich and interactive learning activities for Australian school students.
Budd:e was developed as a key component of the Australian Government's Stay Smart Online initiative, aimed at creating a safer, more secure online environment for all Australians. Budd:e is consistent with the Ministerial Council on Education, Early Childhood Development and Youth Affairs' (MCEETYA) Statements of Learning for Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).
The package includes two modules which help primary and secondary students adopt safe and secure online practices and includes comprehensive teaching resources explaining how the content relates to stages of learning. Each module includes a glossary and useful background information for teachers and parents.
Budd:e is a fun and engaging learning experience where kids play games for points that can be used to build their own personalised robot or cyborg. The game simultaneously teaches kids important online safety and security behaviours.
Budd:e resources for Primary school teachers.
Budd:e resources for Secondary school teachers.
If you use dial-up or do not have internet access, the modules can be ordered for free on CD-ROM via the Budd:e online order form.
Cyber-bullying is when a person bullies another person using electronic technology. Cyber-bullies use mobile devices and computers, social media, text messages and websites.
- posting mean text messages or emails
- spreading rumors via email and/or social media
- distributing embarrassing pictures, videos and websites
- creating fake profiles for any of the above purposes.
Cyber-bullying is different from face to face bullying
- Cyber-bullying can happen 24 hours a day, 7 days a week and at any time of the day or night.
- Cyber-bullying messages and images can be posted anonymously and distributed quickly to a very wide audience. It can be difficult and often impossible to trace the source.
- Deleting inappropriate or harassing messages and pictures is extremely difficult after they have been posted or sent.
Kids and teens that are being cyber-bullied are often bullied in person as well. Regardless of how someone is bullied, the effects of bullying are the same.
Bullying used to just happen at school. Now, using social media and other online activities, kids and teens can be bullied anywhere, including at home and when alone.
What to do if your child is being cyber-bullied
- Talk to your kids and teens and encourage them to let you know if they feel bullied or intimidated.
- Let them know ignoring the problem will not make it go away, and there are things that they can do.
- Block the bully and change your privacy settings.
- Let your kids and teens know that their internet privileges will not be taken away if they report bullying to you.
- Encourage them not to respond when someone is being aggressive or hurtful online as it often makes the situation worse.
- Read the 'Easy Guide to Socialising Online' together – it's full of great information and advice.
- If someone is posting anything about your child online, especially personal information, contact your Internet Service Provider (ISP) as they may be able to remove it.
- Be supportive your child and give them information on specialist support that can help.
- Collect the evidence – keep mobile phone messages and print emails or social networking conversations.
- Report cyber-bullying to your child's school. If you have serious concerns for your child's safety, contact your local police.
Not all websites are suitable for kids and teens. Some contain inappropriate content that may be sexually explicit, violent, prohibited or even illegal.
Prevent kids and teens from inadvertently or intentionally accessing inappropriate content
- Use internet content filters, which are available from your ISP, as they can:
- recognise offensive web content and restrict access to it
- be individually set for different members of your family
- set time limits for online use
- help you monitor the online activities of your family members.
- Discuss the kinds of sites that are okay to explore, and those that are not. Let your kids and teens know that not all websites are suitable for them.
- Explore the internet together and bookmark websites for them that you have approved.
- Talk to your kids about the risks. Encourage them to come to you if they see anything inappropriate online and let them know that their internet privileges will not be taken away if they do.
- Encourage the use of computers and mobile devices in a common area, like the family room or the kitchen to make it easier to monitor use of the internet.
- Install the Cybersafety Help Button on all personal computers and devices.
Protecting personal information and privacy
You are recognised online by your personal details. If the wrong person has that information they can steal your identity, pretend to be you on social media and even access your finances.
Educate your kids on how to protect their personal information and privacy
- Do not give out personal details about yourself or your family including:
- full name, date of birth or age
- where you live
- where your children go to school
- contact details including email addresses
- bank account details
- user names and passwords.
- Help your child to understand the importance of using strong usernames and passwords that do not reveal anything personal. For example 'Katy1998' could reveal name, gender and age. Use a different username and password for each online account.
- Explain how to recognise spam, usually messages from people or organisations you do not know, and delete them without opening them.
- Support your child and explain that if they are not sure about whether they should be sharing something online to ask an adult first.
- Encourage family discussions about safe online practises, making it easy for kids and teens to ask you anything.
Where to get help
Online safety information targeted to young people
Report abuse or suspicious activity
Report offensive, illegal or prohibited content
- A full list of useful contacts can be found on the Contact Us page.