Trauma Centre Australia

CRITICAL INCIDENT & TRAUMA RESPONSE

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News

Protecting your Children Against a Cruel Virtual World

April 14, 2014

Inside Trauma Newsletter – Autumn 2014

Technology has brought on the onset of information, and with that there have been both positive and negative consequences. In the case of Social Media, online forums, chat rooms and other instant messenger programs there are countless stories which involve cyber bullying and these have affected, and continue to affect, many individuals. In some cases this even reaches devastating extremes such as suicide, and or permanent mental illness. You can safeguard your children from being at risk by taking the following precautions.

Install Monitoring Software & Parental Control Tools
There are a range of available programs on the market which enable parents to filter inappropriate words and images. There are options on most computers which can activate features such as time limiting and setting the time kids can access the internet along with restriction of outgoing content. Programmes such as TrendMicro and Kaspersky are available at retailers such as JB Hi-Fi for as little as fifty dollars.

Educate and Talk to your children 
Sit down with your kids whilst they are at the computer and take an interest in how they spend their time on the internet. Ask them if they know what cyber bullies are and perhaps watch an online video, or do a Google search on the topic. Let them know that if they experience bullying, it is never ok to remain silent. Make them feel comfortable to approach you in the future should they experience it. Parenting styles almost always vary to a degree; however in this instance, those who have a naturally authoritarian approach or who favour a permissive style may send the wrong message.

Last year the Coalition, on behalf of the Howard Government released an eleven page document outlining how the state aims to target this issue. For more information please view –http://apo.org.au/research/coalitions-discussion-paper-enhancing-online-safety-children. Children and family laws aim to protect on a State-wide level. This is important information for a parent should they wish to report cyber bullies or familiarise themselves and children on their rights.

Claudia Stans
Undergraduate Counsellor