Coomera Anglican College Student Mobile Device Programme

Reducing Online Risks

How Parents Can Reduce the Risks

As a parent there are specific things that you can do to reduce the risks associated with online activities.

By taking responsibility and managing your child’s online computer use, parents can greatly minimise any potential risks of being online.

The following are suggested guidelines for parents:

  • Be aware that excessive, unmonitored use of computers can be harmful. Excessive use has been linked to increased risk of obesity, repetitive-strain injuries, impaired vision, declines in social interaction, and feelings of loneliness and depression. It is recommended that parents limit the time children spend using computers and if possible monitor the content of the sites their children visit or computer games they play.
  • Set reasonable rules and guidelines for computer use by your child. Discuss these rules with him/her and then post them near the computer as a reminder. Decide upon the time of day that they can be online, and the appropriate areas he/she can access. Monitor the compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time he/she spends on the Internet, especially late at night, as this may be an indicator of potential problems.
  • Keep Internet-connected computers in a communal area of your home with the screen facing outward. One of the most important ways to protect your child is to ensure that any such computer or games machine is not located in their bedroom. Ideally, it should be placed somewhere in the house which is commonly used by everyone, that is, where it is quite normal to pass through and notice what is happening.
  • Be clear about what you consider to be unacceptable online information or communication.
  • Become an Internet user yourself and get to know any services your children use. You will then have a better understanding of the way the technology works and it will not seem unusual that you are interested in their online activities.
  • Instruct your child not to respond to messages or bulletin board items that are suggestive, obscene, belligerent, threatening, or make them feel uncomfortable. If he/she receives such a message, he/she should forward a copy of the message to you, so you can follow it up with Internet Service Provider (ISP).
  • Encourage your child not to access any links that are contained in emails from persons they do not know. Such links could lead to inappropriate web sites.
  • Explain to your child that they should not share their passwords, addresses, pin numbers, credit card details, phone and email details to anyone via the Internet, particularly if that person is only known online.
  • If your children have their own email address, it is advisable that they do not give any indication of their age or gender.
  • Get to know your child’s ‘online friends’ just as you get to know all their other friends.
  • Contact your ISP and Police if your child is subjected to any unsolicited contact by strangers online.
  • Ask your ISP to find out what child-safety measures they offer.
  • Regardless of what filtering software is used, the best way to ensure that your child has positive online experiences is to stay in touch with what they are doing.