As the school year begins, many parents will be purchasing internet enabled devices to help their children access information as part of their learning. Many schools will also be providing laptops and these will arrive home with the children this week.
Tuesday, February 5 is International Safer Internet Day and this year, the theme is ‘online rights and responsibilities.’ Senator Bridget McKenzie, The Nationals Senator for Victoria says 2013 will see more electronic devices in the hands of children than ever before.
“It’s estimated that 90 per cent of Australian high school students have a Facebook account, a smartphone or a tablet. The internet can be a great learning tool and offers a wealth of opportunities for your people,” she said.
‘When I talk to parents, they are telling me that even primary aged children have access to iPads, iphones, laptops, and tablets and that many of these devices are used at home and at school. It is a new era of responsibility for parents, teachers and carers, but many are unsure about the dangers of the internet and how to address them.
‘Teaching children to navigate the online world and to understand their rights and responsibilities is now as important as teaching children about stranger danger and bicycle safety.
‘Some parents don’t realise that their children have their own internet connection in the house – and the key to keeping children safe from online dangers is parents understanding the technology their children are using.
Victoria’s representative on the Coalition Online Safety Working Group, Senator McKenzie said there are four key questions that every parent needs to ask about the technology their child is using:
1. Can they access the internet, particularly through wifi?
2. Can they interact with other people online?
3. Can they make purchases online?
4. Are parental controls installed to allow content or activities to be filtered or monitored?
The Coalition has also released a discussion paper on online safety and is seeking input from parents, schools, young people and industry. The paper can be downloaded from Senator McKenzie’s website and written submissions sent to firstname.lastname@example.org by 29 March 2013.
“This year’s Safer Internet Day theme, ‘online rights and responsibilities’ is about supporting our teachers, our parents and our children as they navigate the electronic world.”
Find out more about Safer Internet Day by visiting www.saferinternetday.org.au