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Could Cadel teach cyber-safety to youngsters?

Telstra News

Posted on August 22, 2011

4 min read

With Cadel Evans becoming the first Australian to win the Tour de France and the oldest post-war winner, it has meant many friends and colleagues are now catching up on the sleep they lost watching each stage.

As Cadel fever grips the country, I’ve heard radio presenters suggest a resurgence in young bike riders across the nation is imminent jolting me to remember my first bike experience. The bike was blue and red. I thought it was the coolest thing when Santa left it and couldn’t wait to ride. The problem was I didn’t know how.

Girl on a bikeI put on my safety gear listened to my parents’ advice and gave it a go. Dad ran beside me until I could pedal myself. I’m sure my parents held their breath while I pedalled proudly unassisted down the footpath, especially when I crashed into a troublesome tree! They gave me some more words of wisdom and I kept trying until one-day it all clicked.

Telstra’s new Cyber-safety research makes me think of the learning to ride experience. The research revealed that a third of parents believe their lack of technological knowledge is getting in the way of keeping their kids safe online. Teaching kids to ride a bike is something parents feel confident doing; keeping kids safe online is not.

There is no doubt that rapidly evolving technology and the jargon that accompanies it is hard to keep up with – but how much do you really have to know to keep kids safe? Was it really my parents’ cycling knowledge that got us through the first few wobbly rides?  If  Cadel was teaching me, would I have learned faster?

Of course not – and it’s the same online. Parents don’t need to be tech experts. They can approach their child’s development in the online world as they would in the offline world. It is their wisdom and experience that their children need. The technical stuff can be understood via brochures, online channels or even from their kids.

As technology becomes more convergent with other parts of life, it’s important that young people know and understand that it’s a combination of social and technical skills that will enable them to be safe online and have a positive experience.

Telstra’s tips for parents to help protect your kids in the online world:

  • Understand the sites and technology your kids use and know who they’re talking to.
  • Create a list of online ‘rules’ with the family e.g. time limits, list of OK sites to visit.
  • Educate your kids so they know not to give out personal details online without parental knowledge.
  • Make sure your kids know what to do and where to go if they encounter cyber-bullying.
  • Regularly sit with your kids when they are on the internet. Let them know you are keeping an eye on their online activity.
  • Never let your kids go to meetings with ‘online’ friends without parental supervision.
  • Talk with your family about the risks of internet use, particularly in chatrooms.
  • Reinforce positive behaviour and values in the online world.
  • Don’t ignore new technologies – kids and teens will use them, if not at home then at their friends’ houses or in the school yard. Ask your child to give you a lesson on sites or internet gadgets you may not be familiar with.
  • Keep the family computer in an open area such as the kitchen or living room where it can be monitored.
  • Install software or services that can filter or block offensive websites. Visit ACMA for more information or BigPond Security for a suitable product.

I’d be really keen to hear how you’ve taught your kids things in either the offline or online world? What tips have you picked up along the way?

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