13 October 2020

Six tips from Leonie Smith aka The Cyber Safety Lady

Keeping kids safe online can be tricky. With the number of apps, websites, online games and social media platforms available, it’s hard to know which platforms are safe for them to use.

Each child responds to and uses technology differently. Industry experts like Leonie Smith, author of two books, ‘Keeping Kids Safe Online’ and ‘Keeping Youth Safe Online’ and ambassador for the national government ‘Stay Smart Online’ campaign in 2013 recently spoke to Life Without Barriers staff and carers about keeping kids safe online.

In her presentation Leonie recommended parents and carers promote an open-door policy about digital technology. This is so children feel comfortable to come to a parent or carer when issues arise.

“It’s also crucial parents and carers understand how to use the technology used in their homes so they can guide children and set up and manage privacy settings.”

But knowing how safe an app really is with programs developing faster than the laws of data protection is confusing.

Embedding safety measures to protect children and their information; like who can see where they live, play and go to school is critical via seemingly innocuous items such as smart watches and fitness trackers is paramount.

There are six digitals ‘dos and don’ts’ Leonie covers in her presentation that can help guide kids’ independent use of online technology is safe:

  1. Empower your child

  2. Mentoring-guiding

  3. Achievable boundaries

  4. Side-by-side supervision

  5. Understand the technology, and

  6. Start early or start now!

The e safety Commissioner also has a range of practical resources and support for parents and carers.

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