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Bullying Solutions: Cybersafety and Protecting Young Children From Online Porn and Violence Introduced By Older Kids

Bullying Solutions: Cybersafety and Protecting Young Children From Online Porn and Violence Introduced By Older Kids
Franki Hobson

Writer

May 11, 2020

In this post of The Carousel’s Anti-Bullying series, we spoke with Jeremy Blackman, Senior Cybersafety Specialist with The Alannah and Madeline Foundation, a national charity protecting children from violence and its devastating effects to give advice on your experiences. Cybersafety is closely linked with cyberbullying, and a big concern is children easily accessing offensive or illegal content, and sharing it with younger or other children. In fact, pornographic and violent online content regularly tops children’s online concerns, with 24% of Australian parents reporting that their 14-15 year-old child had seen or experienced something on the Internet that bothered them in some way in the past year, according to the Australian Communications and Media Authority  report.    

This week, Petra, 29, asks for advice about her son, who was exposed to online violence by older children.

CYBERSAFETY: Protecting young children from online porn and violence introduced by older kids

Q. ‘My 9 year-old son had a sleepover at a friend’s house recently and has been very weepy ever since, having nightmares and sometimes not wanting to go to school. He eventually told me that they’d stayed up late watching some violent things online with his friend’s older brother. I’ve spoken with the parents (they’re family friends) and we’ve sorted it out, but my son is still worried about some of the things he might see online. He has to use the internet for school projects sometimes, and I don’t think it will help in the long run if he stops using it altogether. Do you have any thoughts on what else I can do?’

A. You’ve done all the right things here. It’s now a great opportunity to make sure your home Internet filters are set appropriately, and talk to your son about these settings and what they protect against – make sure you say it’s about the whole family’s happiness and wellbeing too. There are Internet filters available from your Internet provider, but there are also effective settings you can use on your browsers (e.g. Firefox) and search engines (like Google). The downside to installing Internet filters is that they can block lots of good stuff too and become rather frustrating. However, if you’re starting these conversations with your son at age 9, it should enable you to keep adjusting the settings over time while always having open dialogue about the decisions you’re making as a family. Finally, it might be worth making sure you have a ‘family computer’ that is used for internet searching and is situated in a communal area of your home.

Need more help?

Great Australian resources for parents can be found at:

  • The Alannah and Madeline Foundation is a national charity protecting children from violence and its devastating effects.
  • Victoria Department of Education and Early Childhood Development
  • Youth BeyondBlue

If your child needs to speak to someone about their experience Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25, Kids Helpline can be contacted on 1800 551 800.

For more stories on The Carousel’s Anti-Bullying Series and cyber-safety, click here

Has your child been exposed to online violence or pornographic material online? How did you manage the situation? 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

By Franki Hobson

Writer

Franki Hobson has worn many hats during her many years as a women's lifestyle journalist and editor. Her launching pad was COSMOPOLITAN magazine, where she moved from News & Entertainment Editor to Features Director, covering everything from the legalisation of the Morning After Pill to Gwen Stefani, fashion, beauty, sex, health, fitness, entertainment and relationships. Franki Hobson is a contributing lifestyle writer for The Carousel.

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