Keep kids safe online


Get to grips with what’s happening online for your children, with these handy hints and tips from Netsafe.

As young people use more digital technology, it’s crucial parents teach them about online safety. While there might be a gap between what your child knows about technology and how much you know, you don’t have to be a tech expert to help. You can offer life skills, maturity and real-world experience.

Netsafe has put these tips together to help parents and whānau talk to their young people about online safety.

  1. Understand: Read about the potential online risks, challenges and sometimes illegal behaviour young people face. Educate yourself to understand what may happen.
    2. Learn: Ask your child about what they do, how they use devices, and who they talk to. Learn about their activities. Check in regularly to see what has changed.
    3. Explore: Take the time yourself to explore the sites, apps and technologies your child uses to improve your knowledge and understand their experience.
    4. Agree: Create a family code with your child to agree on what they can do online, including sites they can and can’t visit, appropriate behaviours, privacy settings and limits.
    5. Start: Recognise each child has unique needs, but some online safety concepts are universal. Start by teaching yours the five tips to help your child thrive (Keep it locked, Keep it private, Keep it helpful, Keep it real, Keep it friendly).
    6. Model: Be a good example for your child. Make sure you role model the sort of behaviours you want to see your child use online and offline.
    7. Plan: Make a plan so everybody knows 
what to do if something goes wrong and where you will be able to get advice and support in challenging times.

Let your child know the options available to them if they are experiencing online challenges. It’s usually a big step when young people seek help. If a young person comes to you, focus on fixing the issue, not on punishing those involved or confiscating their devices – even if they did something wrong. If you overreact, then you’re less likely to be the first port of call next time something happens.

netsafe.org.nz