Simple ideas for online safety

A CYBER safety expert says she hopes to return to Colac despite a low turnout at her previous session.

Organisers said 12 to 20 people attended a Barwon Adolescent Task Force cyber savvy night in Colac for parents of primary school pupils.

The night aimed to help parents avoid problems around the internet and social network sites.

BAT Force’s Leigh Bartlett gave the presentation and said parents’ feedback was positive.

“We got around 20 turn up – it’s not a lot but in saying that, you get great conversations happening in a small crowd,” Ms Bartlett said.

Last week’s gathering was the first aimed at Colac and district parents of primary school pupils.

Ms Bartlett said BAT Force was booked out for the rest of the year but she hoped to have more sessions in Colac next year.

“Sometimes you can offer it up a couple of times before parents take up on it,” she said.

Alisha Bergman, step-mother to three children, said she learned “some really practical tools” from Ms Bartlett.

“She said to start early with the kids about what’s appropriate internet use and what’s appropriate Facebook use, and to open lines of communication so if there’s any problems they can come to you and see you about it,” Mrs Bergman said.

“They’re adding people they’ve never met, so it’s having conversations about who they are giving access to their Facebook, because often there’s differences between what a parent thinks and what the kids think,” she said.

“And following your instincts as a parent, noticing if they’re becoming anti-social.”

Mrs Bergman said other ideas included having a “house mobile” which everyone used instead of buying a phone for each family member.

“Leigh made it really interactive and parents had their own concerns to raise,” she said.

“The fact they targeted it at primary school kids was good so you can start to implement some rules before it’s too late.”

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