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Has Cyber Safety Become The New 'Sex Talk' For Kids?

It’s become the new ‘sex talk’.

And cyber safety for teenagers in particular is much more than just the dodgy characters in chat rooms.

Many parents didn’t grow up in the same tech environment as their kids, and may not know automatically know what to do or say – or what an issue even looks like.

Like Fitzi said: "Twenty-five years ago when I was a teenager, probably the sexiest thing you could find is the lingerie section of the BigW catalogue."

Author, clinical psychologist and blogger at The Conscious Mother, Kirstin Bouse spoke to Carmen & Fitzi and said that while there is some next-level material online, it usually starts pretty innocuously.  

“They can find themselves down a rabbit warren of very, very dodgy material but where they started is probably not that concerning,” she said.

“When you get on to certain sites, you get all the pop-ups and you follow them, follow them, follow them, like the Yellow Brick Road to Oz – with Oz being pretty concerning.”

Her tips?

Blocks. Use them.

“I’ve got four kids and I’ve stumbled across my young one who has started watching Minecraft things on YouTube and they can land in some pretty scary places, so we have to take control of that situation.”

Sometimes telcos can even do this for you.

School resources

…no, not for your kids.

“Some schools are offering education to parents, so I would encourage parents to attend anything that the school puts on, they tend to get experts in that know how to talk to us who are - you know - in our 30s and 40s,” Kirstin said.

“We don’t necessarily know about privacy settings and how to block this but how to allow that.”

Don’t drop the ball on older children

It’s not just the little ones that need close monitoring, Kirstin said it’s been found that parents can lapse their focus throughout the teenage years, especially when there is wifi in the house and not just the family computer out in the open.

Online vs offline behaviour

Kirstin says to make sure your teenager’s online behaviour is on par with their offline behaviour. Would they swear at someone in real life? No? Then why online?

Boundaries

Age-appropriate boundaries should be set, such as “you can have an account only if I have the password” or that there will be consequences if they clear their history.

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