A public forum in Shepparton next week aims to educate and empower teachers, parents and carers to help keep young people safe online.
It is part of the Australian Federal Police cyber safety regional roadshow and ThinkUKnow program, which Detective Acting Superintendent Jayne Crossling said was developed following the concerning number of referrals of criminal behaviour and exploitation of young people online.
‘‘We want to engage with parents, teachers and carers to take a greater role in kids’ online experiences,’’ she said.
Det Supt Crossling said when it came to parenting children who were playing games online and using social media, parents had an obligation to keep them safe.
‘‘One issue that pops up a lot that is causing some alarm is young people playing games on sites that are entirely age appropriate and their parents are aware of them doing it but the issue is that they have an inbuilt chat functionality.
‘‘We’ve had incidents referred to the AFP where adults have used the chat functionality to groom young people to create sexualised images or upload videos and the parents didn’t realise.’’
Det Supt Crossling said if there was one piece of advice she could offer to parents, it was to engage with their children.
‘‘You need to know what you’re talking about and show a level of interest, which lets your child know if there is a problem you can do something about it,’’ she said.
Topics at the forum will include sexting and online grooming, cyberbullying and inappropriate/illegal content; protecting information and devices; talking to young people about cyber safety; and what to do if you suspect potential criminal behaviour online.
The free forum will be at Shepparton GoTAFE on May 2 from 8.30am to 10.30am. Register your interest at email@example.com