Australia’s cyber security boss reveals how she keeps her three kids safe online

After working for the likes of the US Congress, Microsoft, Twitter and Adobe, Julie Inman Grant (pictured) now heads up eSafety

After working for the likes of the US Congress, Microsoft, Twitter and Adobe, Julie Inman Grant (pictured) now heads up eSafety

Child safety online is one of the biggest potential worries for parents – with many wondering what is the best approach for their kids.

This is where Julie Inman Grant steps in. 

After working for the likes of the US Congress, Microsoft, Twitter and Adobe, Julie now heads up eSafety – an organisation established by the Australian government to help keep kids safe online.

She also has three of her own children, and a wealth of tips and tricks for keeping children safe online. 

According to Julie, the best thing to do with children is to teach them what is the best way to use social media.

She has seven-year-old twins and a 13-year-old daughter and told Nine Honey that she and the 13-year-old have just gone on Instagram ‘together’.

‘I guess she’s on her Instagram “training wheels”,’ Julie told the publication. 

‘She’s only joining with friends she knows and I’ve been talking to her about the fact that it’s not how many friends you have online, but about having meaningful connections.’ 

Julie said she limits screen times for her children and she also turns the chat functions off with her younger children when they are gaming (stock image)

Julie said she limits screen times for her children and she also turns the chat functions off with her younger children when they are gaming (stock image)

When it comes to her twins, Julie said she allows them to use the gaming platforms Roblox and Minecraft.

However, instead of them having their full capacities, she has turned the chat functions off – so her kids aren’t exposed to any potential interactions with strangers.

‘This is what I don’t want to lose sight of in our guidance,’ Julie said.

‘I don’t want to panic parents. This is a huge parenting challenge and many feel lost and don’t know where to go. 

According to the Australian Institute of Family Studies, ninety-seven per cent of households with children aged under 15 years have access to the Internet, with an average number of seven devices per household.

Ninety-nine per cent of young people between age 15 and 17 are online, making this age group the highest users.

These users spend an average of 18 hours per week online, while social networking, entertainment and educational activities are the most popular activities.  

However, the Institute warns that parents need to ‘remain actively involved and vigilant’ regarding the nature of their children’s online activities.

They should endeavour to communicate and negotiate with their children about the use of technology.  

The Children's Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service shared how to keep kids safe online, including good communication (stock image)

The Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service shared how to keep kids safe online, including good communication (stock image) 

The Children’s Health Queensland Hospital and Health Service have also shared the 10 things every parent should do when trying to keep their kids safe online.

What are some of the top tips for keeping children safe online?

1. As soon as your child starts accessing the Internet, talk to them about what they are reading, watching and who they are communicating with.

2. Teach your kids about their online reputation, and advise them that how they how they behave and interact will have an impact on themselves.

3. Monitor screen time, especially younger children’s time.

4. Place your computer in a central spot in the home so you can see what’s going on.

5. Set any mobile devices to forget the wi-fi passwords so your kids can’t go online without you knowing.

6. Know who your children’s social media circles are – so you can monitor posts.

7. Tell your kids to avoid sharing their location with any geo-tagging features.

8. Monitor how much time they are spending online and make sure it’s no more than two hours per day.

9. Try to make one day per week screen-free and encourage other activities.

10. Lead by example. If you’re responsible online, they are likely to be too. 

‘The first thing you should do is as soon as your child starts accessing the Internet is talk to them about what they are reading, watching and who they are communicating with online,’ the report said.

They advised you teach your kids about their ‘online reputation’ too – and advise them that how they behave and interact with people will have an impact on yourself. 

‘Always monitor your child’s time online, particularly younger children,’ the report said.

It can be helpful to have the computer in a central spot in the home, where it’s easy to keep an eye on your kids. 

In a similar vein, it’s a good idea to set any mobile devices to forget the wi-fi passwords so your kids can’t go online without you knowing. 

Elsewhere, the report said parents should be aware of who your child’s online and social media circles are – so you can monitor posts.

‘Your children may resist but tell them that is one of the conditions for you to allow them access,’ Children’s Health Hospital Service said. 

Finally, you should tell kids to avoid sharing their location with any geo-tagging features, and monitor just how much time they are spending online.

Current guidelines recommend children between the age of five and 17 have no more than two hours of screen time per day, so a non-negotiable finish time is a good idea.

‘You can also try making some days “screen free” in your home to encourage everyone to pursue other more active and/or less technology-driven ways to entertain themselves,’ Children’s Health Hospital Service said.

For more information, please click here  

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