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Parental privacy prep prevents predators

27 January 2023, 4:12pm
Media Release

Parental privacy prep prevents predators

Editor's note: Vision of how to access privacy settings is available via Hightail

Families are urged to be proactive this school year and update the privacy settings on children’s devices to help prevent predators from contacting them online.

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. With school returning, if they haven’t already, we are urging parents to consider appropriate privacy settings,” acting Assistant Commissioner Sirec 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."

To assist parents, carers and those around children, the AFP’s ThinkUKnow program has developed a new resource to better understand sharing content such as photos and videos and some of the top tips for privacy settings.

“Images and videos of children posted to social media can 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,” acting Assistant Commissioner Sirec said.

”Our research has shown that a majority of parents are 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.

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

The AFP-led ThinkUKnow program - Australia's first and only nationally delivered, law enforcement-led online safety program - has produced guides for parents and carers. The online guides include advice on setting up new devices and social media accounts.

The eSafety Commissioner also has a range of resources to support families on its website – eSafety is Australia’s independent regulator for online safety, designed to help safeguard all Australians from online harms and to promote safer, more positive online experiences.

“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,” acting Assistant Commissioner Sirec said.

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