Parents urged to be more involved in cyber safety

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Lyndall Hawes, Lisa Woodward and students from Orchard Hills Public School with Harold the Giraffe. Photo: Melinda Jane

With sexting and image-based abuse incidents on the rise, it’s more important than ever for parents and carers to take an active interest in their children’s online activities.

New research from the Office of the eSafety Commissioner has found that one in four Australian teenagers, aged between 14 and 17, have experienced sexting or revenge porn in the past year.

Alarmingly, there have been reports that kids as young as 11 are putting themselves in danger by sharing nude or semi nude photos of themselves online, often to people they don’t know.

Head Educator of Life Education NSW, Lisa Woodward, said young people often don’t understand the repercussions of what they are sharing online.

“Young people need to be educated about the long-term implications of their online activity,” she said.

“But research shows that parents have an important role to play in keeping their kids safe online, and are a main source of advice and support when children are experiencing problems online.”

As part of their bCyberwise campaign, Life Education NSW has also been travelling to schools around Penrith, with students from Orchard Hills Public School recently receiving a visit.

Principal of Orchard Hills Public School, Fran Campbell, believes that it is vital for parents to also become involved in the education process around cybersafety.

“Having parents informed and up-to-date in the use of social media, while supporting their children with safe and respectful online behaviour, can only help in the overall protection of our children,” she said.

“Education in cybersafety also enables parents and schools to work in partnership when protecting young people and teaching appropriate digital citizenship.”

To help parents and carers better understand the risks their children face online, Life Education NSW is holding an information night for parents on November 22.

Topics that will be covered throughout the night include cyber bullying, online stranger danger, photo sharing and image-based abuse, accessing inappropriate content, sharing personal information online, balancing time online, and safe and respectful online behaviour.

The information night will run from 6pm at the Life Education NSW centre, located in Colyton. Register your attendance online at lenswcyber.eventbrite.com.au.

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