26 September 2023

New police aid to help parents protect kids

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The Australian Federal Police (AFP) has released a new resource for parents and carers to help them prevent predators from contacting their children online.

Urging families to be proactive this school year, AFP Acting Assistant Commissioner Hilda Sirec said there were steps parents could take to ensure added privacy and control over their children’s online activities and presence.

“We know the exciting times with many children receiving phones, gaming consoles and other internet-enabled devices as gifts over the holiday period,” A/Assistant Commissioner Sirec said.

“With school returning, if they haven’t already, we are urging parents to consider appropriate privacy settings,” she said.

“We encourage online safety to be part of the back-to-school checklist.

“Talking to your children about online safety and ensuring the right privacy settings are in place should be alongside getting their uniforms and meeting their teacher.”

A/Assistant Commissioner Sirec said the AFP’s ThinkUKnow program has launched the resource to help parents and carers better understand the impact of sharing content such as photos and videos, as well as some of the top tips for privacy settings.

She said images and videos of children posted to social media could be used by online child sex offenders to build a profile or groom parents or children.

“Content uploaded to social media that contains personal information may reveal a lot about your child,” A/Assistant Commissioner Sirec warned.

She said AFP research showed the majority of parents were unaware of the risks posed by internet-enabled devices.

“These devices enable offenders to contact children while they’re in the family home or alone in their bedrooms and it’s less visible than if they tried to approach children at a park or on the street,” A/Assistant Commissioner Sirec said.

“Especially before children open social media accounts, it is vital that parents give them the best possible start to their online lives,” she said.

“Children need to know how to respond if they encounter unsafe situations online and a big part of that is knowing they can approach their parents for help.”

The AFP’s two-page Parental advice for posting images can be accessed at this PS News link.

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