Cyber safety 2012
It’s a connected world. Australia is well known as a nation of early adopters when it comes to communication gadgets and tools, and recent research by Telstra with 1250 parents of school aged children confirms this trend.
Mobile ownership starts young: over a quarter (27%) children aged under 11 years own a mobile phone and almost eight in ten kids have a phone by the time they’re 13. And as parents trade up to the latest smartphone, anecdotally it’s common practice to hand down the earlier version to their children.
But, as with any new technology, new skills are not always in sync: 31 per cent of parents haven’t spoken to their children recently about how to protect personal information like photos, address details and passwords when online, or who should have their mobile phone number. Four in ten kids who take mobiles to school use them to connect with friends and family via texts and social networking sites such as Facebook. It’s not all bad - interestingly, ten per cent of kids use mobile apps such a calculator and a compass as learning aids in some classes and schools increasingly are using devices for interactive learning across a range of curriculum areas.
When it comes to other internet-enabled devices four in five parents will send their kids to school with either a mobile, an itouch, laptop or tablet, all of which have wifi capacity.
When asked about issues relating to the use of these, cyber-safety risks such as approaches from online strangers and cyber bullying top the list of concerns.
Online safety tips
1. Make sure your child knows what to do and where to go if they encounter cyber-bullying
2. Educate your child so they know not to give out personal details (such as their birthday, school, home address or phone number) online without parental knowledge.
3. Ensure kids understand that they shouldn’t be 'friends' on social networking sites with people they don't know in the real world and make sure you understand how to use privacy settings so that you can jointly manage the content they share.
4. Don't ignore new technologies – kids and teens will use them, if not at home then at their friends’ houses or in the school yard. Remember, there many gadgets that can access social media sites and kids are quick to work out how to access wifi. Get on the front foot and ask your child, or a savvy friend to give you a lesson on sites or internet gadgets you may not be familiar with.
Mobile safety tips
1. Remind your kids to be careful about who they pass their mobile phone number to
2. Ensure their mobile phone is PIN locked. If they use a smartphone, also set up a password to protect their email and social networking accounts when the phone is switched on.
3. Encourage your kids to think before they send. The person that they send a text, picture or video to may not be the only one who will see them. Make it a habit that the 24 hour rule should apply.
For more information about staying safe and enjoying the online world, head to Telstra’s Internet and Cyber-Safety page: www.telstra.com.au/cyber-safety