Parents Cyber Safety Education Vital For Children’s Online Safety

Parents Cyber Safety Education Vital For Children’s Online Safety

Keeping Your Family Safe Online


Telstra’s latest Cyber Safety report for July 2014, shows clearly that parents are still largely unaware of what their children are doing online, and are urgently in need cyber safety education in order to keep on top of their children’s digital online use.



Quote from the study 

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“Generation gap

US research notes the generational gap between children’s and parents’ perceptions of cyber safety oversight:

  • 39% of teenagers claim parents monitor closely;
  • 84% of parents claim they monitor their teens’ usage very/fairly closely; and
  • 91% of parents claim they are
    aware of their children’s mobile phone and online usage, teenagers overwhelmingly claim that this is not the case.

This report highlights what myself and most other cyber safety educators have been aware of for some time. That the majority of parents are still struggling to keep up with their children’s online world. The majority of parents believe they have it all covered, but their children are saying otherwise.

The fact that kids are claiming in this study that mum and dad are actually not monitoring their online use, when parents believe they are, either means that mum and dad are very sneaky, or that the kids have it “all over” the parents.

Also From the study:

“46% of Australian parents feel they are well informed about cyber safety issues”

“Many parents feel under-equipped to address the numerous and often complex safety issues their children might face online”

“Parents need to become more familiar with the platforms young people use and the attractions of using technology, as well as enhance their own technical skills”

Cyber Safety Talks

Most schools are holding cyber safety talks or “technology nights” for parents. Yet many schools have reported that the amount of parents who attend these talks is very small. I have also heard that some schools have given up holding cyber safety talks for parents due to lack of attendance.

The biggest challenge educators have and the biggest barrier to educating parents on safe online behavior is parent complacency, and parents reluctance to seek or even accept cyber safety education. The study also points out that parents feel overwhelmed by the task of supervising children online. Maybe they simply feel it’s too late to start learning or simply too hard.

This report covers all age groups and is worth reading to understand the cyber safety education competency of all age groups including seniors and what approaches need to be developed to start making some advances in education around the online world.

Some important takeaways from this report:

  • Hands on experiential learning, using the technology has a more lasting impact.
  • All ages need education programs and more experience with using the technology in a positive way
  • Only negative messages about the dangers online is not effective in the long term. Practical solutions in how to use digital technology with safety will work more effectively in the future.
  • Media campaigns on cyber safety don’t provide enough education in practical terms, to help users to understand how to use the technology safely.
  • For children there is an element of risk associated with internet use, but the risk doesn’t necessarily lead to harm.

See Report Here:

Have you attended a cyber safety presentation or workshop, what did you like or dislike? 

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  • geoff Oldroyd

    As a teacher at a Girls High School I like to think that we have done a good job of raising awareness about Cybersafety with our parents. However, I don’t really know if the messages and concern about this issue is actually reaching students homes in a meaningful way. This report would indicate that it is not getting through to parents. Like, possibly many, parents I am unsure of what else can be done. We have sent various emails, included information in newsletters and discussed Cybersafety at various teacher parent evenings as well as at various assemblies with the students.

    • Thankyou Geoff for your feedback. I’m always very interested to hear from schools and educators such as yourself about what you have found works and what hasn’t. I speak to cyber safety educators and experts all over the world who all reports the same issue with parents. Another recent study done by AVG also points to parents overwhelmingly expecting schools to deal with cyber safety education of their children. This is obviously frustrating for schools who cannot be held fully responsible for cyber safety of students, when most of the time issues occur when online at home. Schools also reported that teachers felt under resourced and not equipped to be able to meet parents expectations of cyber safety education. This is hardly surprising when the profession of being a cyber safety educator is quite a new and unique skill quite unlike other types of skills that I.T educators at most schools have. I find I’m educating I.T teachers who are most often the ones charged with handling situations of a very practical nature for students.

      One of the most enthusiastic parent groups I have addressed so far turned up to my talk after some very well done marketing by the school concerned. The schools teachers spoke about the importance of cyber safety education about 2 weeks before my scheduled talk at a well attended parent night, they then advertised the night both in the newsletters, with posters around the schools, with emails and also offered child minding on the night in the school Library using senior students who got credits for looking after the kids, in front of a suitable Movie. The school also charged the parents a small fee for attending which covered the cost of my Step By Step Manual, if parents pay they turn up, and if they don’t they still got the manual. Just telling parents that there is a cyber safety night on, isn’t enough. Parents have to know why they must attend. If schools don’t explain to parents in upfront terms the issues they are facing already at schools and give parents an idea of what the talk will teach them, the event can seem like an unnecessary waste of parents time. Especially when parents already think they have it handled, or are sticking their heads in the sand hoping it will all go away.

      Some schools are making cyber safety education part of the contract for their students being able to take home school laptops and iPads. If you don’t attend the technology night…no computer at home. Tough, but the alternative is for schools to be saddled with all the problems and potentially kids bringing unsuitable adult content to schools on their devices due to lack of filters and educated supervision at home.