A child using the free online chat website 'Omegle'. (AAP Image/Richard Walker)
A child using the free online chat website 'Omegle'. (AAP Image/Richard Walker)

1 in 3 teens contacted by online predators

Since the COVID pandemic began, one in three teenagers report they have been contacted by online predators - but there are ways CQ parents can regulate home internet use.

Research released on Tuesday by the eSafety Commissioner, reveals teenagers spend around two hours a day online and have four different social media accounts.

"Our research shows that while teens' increased use of technology offers many benefits, there is a distinct downside - dealing with negative online experiences such as unwanted contact and cyber-bullying," said eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

 

Australia's e-safety commissioner Julie Inman Grant. Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.
Australia's e-safety commissioner Julie Inman Grant. Stuart McEvoy/The Australian.

"The pleasing news is that, compared to 2017 research, more teens appear to be taking some form of action after a negative online experience.

"That could mean managing it themselves, such as blocking the person or reporting the issue. "However, a large percentage of teens still ignore potentially harmful online experiences or believe nothing will change if they seek help."

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Despite this increase in predatory behaviour, parents across Central Queensland can implement controls on their home internet service to prevent children from accessing selected websites or limit their time online.

Parental online controls vary from software programs, including Net Nanny and Norton Family Premier, that can monitor and regulate internet access, to hardware devices such as Circle Home Plus and Clean Router.

These parental controls give families the ability to prevent access to websites, track internet usage, limit online time to selected devices, and more.

An annual worldwide event, Safer Internet Day aims to create a safer, better internet for all.

Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts Minister, Paul Fletcher MP, said that Safer Internet Day was an important day on the calendar.

"Safer Internet Day gives us all the opportunity to 'start the chat' about online safety," he said.

"The Government recently committed to enhancing Australia's world-leading online safety framework through the proposed Online Safety Bill, which will further protect Australians against harmful online abuse."

 

Online predators have contacted one in three teenagers attempting to lure them into their trap.
Online predators have contacted one in three teenagers attempting to lure them into their trap.

 

Ms Inman Grant said this was a conversation that could be had with friends, in the workplace, or parents at home with their children.

"Does your teenager know where to turn if they've had a negative experience online, or been approached by a stranger?" Ms Inman Grant said.

"It's never too early to start the chat and this goes for younger children too.

"Today we also released two fantastic resources to help young children learn about online safety.

"The Swoosh, Glide and Rule Number 5 picture book and My Family Rules song by Lah-Lah will have them reading and singing along as they build good digital habits."

To learn more about online safety for children visit the eSafety website.

If your child is approached by an online predator, report the interaction to the eSafety Commissioner online.

 

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New bail laws, GPS tagging in major youth crime blitz

Drug-making meds stolen in Gladstone chemist smash-and-grab

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