HERE are some questions for you … Do your children own or use a smart-phone or tablet? Can you see them when they are using it? Who are they talking to and what sites are they accessing?

Aside from the first question which is simply a yes or no response, if you are having difficulties answering the remaining questions, you should be concerned as a parent.

I was fortunate enough to be selected to attend a conference recently on the Gold Coast – it was put together by the staff at Operation Argos, who as most people know, work to keep our kids safe from predators online.

Now marry these two things together. The theme of the conference was “abductions” and I’m talking to you about your children being online. Two separate things right? Think again.

During the three day conference I was hit with stories of online communications involving children and child predators which ended in abductions … to the point of saturation.

As a parent I was mortified – my own child was once playing an online game using a tablet, when another game player began targeting him in an obscene fashion. It was very upsetting for him and disturbing for us.

Parents: we have a role to play and we need to step up.

Our Crime Prevention office delivers a presentation for parents titled – Who is chatting to your kids?

During this presentation, seven simple suggestions are made for the benefit of parents – which will help you protect your kids.

Please consider them:

1) Remove all technology from your children’s bedroom. This includes computers and mobile phones, aside from the chance of unsupervised access to the internet occurring otherwise, it may also help with increasing their sleeping hours.

2) Provide a facility where all technology in the home can be stored, charged and secure. One location. Only.

3) Limit the amount of time allocated for children using technology to about an hour at a time.

4) Sit down as a family and talk each day, when doing so, ensure all technology is switched off.

5) Teach your children about what is appropriate to upload or add to social media. Remember you can hit the delete button one hundred times after the event, but everything on the internet is retrievable.

6) Turn off technology at least two hours before bedtime – make this the time of day when charging devices will occur.

7) Give serious consideration to alternatives for video games. It’s amazing how well kids adapt to board games where there is actual human interaction. Trust me – you are speaking to the converted here.

If the “Who is chatting to your kids?” presentation interests you – please contact us at the Crime Prevention office on 4968 3557.

DAILYMERCURY: OPINION: Who is talking to your kids?

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