Guardians of the internet: How to keep your kids safe in the online era

Lauren Newton, mum-of-six, shares her advice...
Loading the player...

Growing up, we were always taught about safety, whether it was crossing the road or not talking to strangers.

My mum always took us to school and picked us up, and stayed with us at parties.

We had a handful of friends that we could stay with, but the circle was small and she never liked the idea of sleepovers.

Now, having my own children, I understand the protection and feel the same need to keep my children safe – but it is so much harder now.

WATCH NOW: Study Says Cut Back On Social Media 30 Minutes A Day. Article continues after video.

Danger Zone

The same worries are there about strangers and who to trust, but there are also new concerns that didn’t exist when I was a child.

The internet has changed the way kids learn, and they have access to computers and iPads at school from day one.

They’re also online at home with access to YouTube and even Google from a young age (Alby is better at googling than me!).

It’s hard to keep them away from devices, and opens up so many safety concerns. From accidentally buying games on my phone to replying to scam texts, it can be a dangerous place for a child.

RELATED: Lauren Newton shares her trials and triumphs of mum life

Lauren balances the need for devices with protecting her kids from exposure to harmful content. (Credit: Supplied)

Phoning it in

Allowing our older kids to have phones was a hard decision, but it became so much easier to coordinate pick-ups and communicate (even if they didn’t want to) when they had a phone.

We can also track where they are, which puts my mind at ease when they go out with friends.

Staying Social

Social media was a big concern for me and I was worried once I opened that door that there was no closing it. Snapchat is all the older two are allowed at the moment.

I was so reluctant, but it is very hard when that seems to be how their age group communicates now, and I was worried it would start to become a bigger issue not having it.

Matt and I monitor it closely and so far have had no reason for concern.

RELATED: Lauren Newton on raising her kids the right way

Alby and Monty are more tech-savvy than their parents! (Credit: Supplied)

Parental Guidance

I hope we continue to find the balance between using devices for the convenience and benefits, but resist it taking over the kids’ lives.

I often have to explain to them that when I was their age, there were no mobile phones to use, and we managed to survive. If we needed to call someone, we used pay phones!

It’s such a different world now and kids need guidance navigating it all.

RELATED: Lauren Newton shares expert tips for ‘making family travel fun’

Related stories