Parental safety advice
This article will provide advice and resources for parents who wish to restrict the content accessed by children online. As the digital world continues to evolve, the challenges for parents evolve with it. To help keep your children safe, we’ve created this guide to highlight some of the challenges your children may face online.
For more information about keeping your child safe online, please visit eSafety.gov.au.
Select one of the links below to jump to a query:
- Accessing age-appropriate material
- Unwanted contact from strangers
- Maintaining privacy
- In-app charges
- Computer viruses
Accessing age-appropriate material
Making sure your child only has access to age-appropriate material online can be a difficult task. It’s a good idea to chat with your children and encourage them to come to you if they see imagery or content that worries or upsets them.
If you have children of different ages, it’s best to remind older children that certain websites and apps may not be suitable for their younger siblings.
You might consider using online parental controls, monitoring apps and family friendly filters. There are apps that track the websites that your child visits and they can also block dedicated sites that you consider inappropriate. The Communications Alliance has great advice for family friendly filters.
If any apps or filters require the MAC Address of your child's device, these guides will help you find it:
- Find MAC Address on Windows OS
- Find MAC Address on Mac OS
- Find MAC Address on iPhone or iPad
- Find MAC Address on Android OS
Parental Control features in modems (and why they're no longer recommended)
In the past, parents may have used Parental Control features in their modem settings to block access to certain websites and/or keywords. This approach is no longer recommended as it's ineffective due to these reasons:
- Parental Controls will not work if the child's device is not accessing the internet directly through your modem via Ethernet or WiFi. This includes mobile data, mesh WiFi networks and public WiFi.
- Parental Controls may not work as expected if the child's device which use a VPN encrypted connection or other security software, or if the child's device already has content from the blacklisted websites in its browsing cache.
- Parental Controls are not effective on websites using HTTPS, a type of encryption that is now used by most websites.
Unwanted contact from strangers
Social media apps can provide the ability for your children to network and to keep in touch with their peers. But they also attract unwanted contact from strangers.
If your child is contacted by a stranger, encourage them to come to you immediately. They shouldn’t respond to the stranger no matter how tempting it might appear.
Sharing of private information online can be necessary but it’s important that your children are aware of when to share and when not to share private information.
It’s a good idea to chat with your children to explain the importance of keeping personal information off the internet. Set boundaries and rules, especially for younger children as their online reputation can follow them through life.
No longer is bullying confined to the playground. With the advent of the internet, a child could be bullied from whenever they have access to the internet. Cyberbullies may act anonymously and can inflict significant emotional trauma on a child in their bedroom – a place that should be the safest of all.
It’s important to talk to your children about cyberbullying and to make them aware of how to identify cyberbullying when it occurs. Tell your child that they should never respond to a cyberbully. Encourage your child to come to you immediately if they feel that they’ve been targeted.
Many apps, particularly free online games, generate revenue through what’s known as in-app purchases. Sometimes you may not even know that a particular action in a game involves money.
It’s best to ensure that your debit/credit card details aren’t saved on the device so that you aren’t charged if your child inadvertently makes an in-app purchase.
Computer viruses and malware can be spread through what it seems like an innocent email or attachment.
Teach your children to be wary of emails that are unfamiliar or that they’re not expecting. Some emails use popular logos and brand names – be cautious of opening and downloading anything that doesn’t seem completely legitimate.
Always use virus protection software on all devices connected to your home network.