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Online Safety Tips and Warning Signs

By April 12th, 2022No Comments

The online world is a huge part of the learning and social environment for children and young people. However, Harry Potter has shown us “there can be no light without the dark”. In the online environment, just as in the physical world, people exist who seek to develop relationships with children for the purpose of engaging in some form of sexual abuse. This is why online safety is paramount in every home.

Below are some quick tips on cyber safety and child behaviour that adults should be mindful of:

  • Basic digital citizenship: Before getting online, children should have some basic skills regarding online privacy, an awareness not to share personal information, exchange pictures and/or meet in person. Our protective behaviours framework is always asking children to talk to someone they trust when something does not feel right, as opposed to relying on an actual harmful event occurring.
  • Be interested: Even if it does not interest you. Ask children about the apps and games they are using, engage in conversations with them about the technology, and get to know the language.
  • Implement rules: Regarding times and places for device use that is appropriate for their age and maturity.


Not overreacting and responding to concerns quickly can encourage children to share what is happening in their world. The existence of any of these behaviours may not be the result of communication with an offender. However, based on your child’s age and maturity the following should still be spoken about:

  • Online activities become secretive or being online becomes an obsession
  • Gifts arrive from someone unknown to you
  • Withdrawal from friends and family
  • Becoming angry if not able to get online
  • Changing screens or turning off computer when an adult enters the room
  • Accessing or downloading pornography

You can read more about online safety in the home here.

Ann Barr is a Senior Student Protection Officer at Cairns Catholic Education