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7 steps to online safety

Cybersafety expert Kirra Pendagast imparted some fascinating and valuable tips about online safety during her recent Beaconhills parent session called ‘School’s Duty of Care Meets Home Supervision’.

Here are just seven pieces of advice from her presentation. College parents can view the session recording via a link in this week’s newsletters.

  • Remind students what they are signing up to with social media apps. Personal information that they post on – or associated with – the app can be licensed by the app, and the licence to access that information can be sold off to advertisers or third parties. Check privacy of the data.
  • The simplest way to teach your child about consent is to make sure that you ask them every time you take their photo. Can I take your photo? Can I post it on my Instagram account? Show them the photo. Make sure they’re OK with it before you post it.
  • AI has meant the emergence of deep fake technology. If you’re taking photos of your children to post on social media – for example of them holding up a certificate they won – get them to hold it so it partly obscures their face as well as making sure their name or where the certificate is from is blurred or not fully readable. This protects the safety of your child and makes it harder to crop their face out and deep fake it onto something else.
  • If taking a photo of your child at a school event for example, make sure there are no other children in the background. Kirra gives the example of a boy in the background of photo who was in a witness protection program. Publishing the photo put him and his whole family at risk.
  • A healthy boundary she recommends is to not let older teens use their phones in their bedrooms or the bathroom.
  • Be wary of online games such as Roblox or Fortnite. She likens Roblox to children going through the front door of a gigantic shopping centre, where they can run around by themselves, look in shops and speak to random strangers. Get actively involved in the games your children are playing. Understand what the game looks like, how to block and report if things go wrong.
  • Visit sites such as www.esafety.gov.au and Kirra Pendagast’s site www.theonlinesafetyagency.com for a wealth of other tips and information.