Updated CFCA Fact Sheet
The purpose of this paper is to provide information on resources available for parents regarding online safety for their children. For another Child Family Community Australia (CFCA) information exchange paper relating to online practices, see Parental Involvement in Preventing and Responding to Cyberbullying (Robinson, 2012).
What is online safety?
“Online safety” is used interchangeably with terms such as “Internet safety”, “cybersafety”, “Internet security”, “online security” and “cyber security”. The risk of using computers, mobile phones and other electronic devices to access the Internet or other social media is that breaches of privacy may lead to fraud, identity theft and unauthorised access to personal information.
For a child, going online may place their immediate emotional health at risk and could also potentially lead to physical harm. This is particularly so in cases where little or no attention has been paid to the security of the device being used. In these types of cases, and for the purpose of this paper, online safety is a child protection issue.
Why is online safety important?
The Internet provides access to vast amounts of information and the opportunity for children to meet and communicate with people from around the world. However, there are also risks for children, such as cyberbullying, stalking, or exposure to illicit materials. Criminal offenders have proved to be highly skilled at exploiting new modes of communication to gain access to children, and children can easily access adults-only materials if there are no protective mechanisms in place (Australian Communications and Media Authority [ACMA], 2009; Queensland Police, 2012).
While online safety is important for protecting children from dangerous and inappropriate websites and materials, this does not mean that parents should discourage their children from accessing the Internet. The challenge is to help children enjoy the benefits of going online while avoiding the risks (Raising Children’s Network, 2012).
To read the full paper, see – Online safety