Holy Rosary Church Nedlands together with WA Child Safety Services (WACSS) have called on parents, grandparents and children carers to attend a cyber safety workshop to be held on Wednesday, 13 September at 6.30pm in the Parish Hall.
Organised by parishioner and safeguarding officer, Trudy McKenna who recently attended a workshop by Professor Daryl Higgins from Australian Catholic University, for the safeguarding officers and agency staff, said that it was important to bring these workshops to the attention of the parents and child carers as well.
“As parents, I felt that it is our primary responsibility to ensure that our children are safe. It is imperative for all parents and children carers to have knowledge and be more aware of their child’s online activities.
“We need to be part of the protective paradigm in lowering any risk factors in our children’s environment that may enable predators access to our children, this includes via the computers and mobile devices. And, the cyber safety workshop is a good platform to get this started,” Mrs McKenna said.
The workshop will be facilitated by Kaylene Kerr, Child Safety Advocate and Trainer, who will be presenting some informative tips so parents can learn how to keep their children safe online.
WACSS principal trainer Justine O’Malley, has said that parents, grandparents and child carers need to start talking to their children about the dangers of the online world from an early age.
“We need to develop for our younger children a relationship where they feel comfortable sharing with us what they’re posting online.
“So if they do post something inappropriate, we can have a discussion with them around why that might not be appropriate,” she said.
“Parents can understand that. They’re not going to throw a child in the deep end when they’re five years old if they don’t know how to swim but for some reason, we don’t know how to translate that to the cyber world.
“It’s going to be a lot easier if you’re involved in the beginning than suddenly at the age of 12, because the reality is children at that age are probably going to hide what’s going on.”
Mrs O’Malley said that parents, grandparents and child carers should look to have constructive conversations with their children to encourage them to open up about their online habits.
“We always want to let our children know they can talk with us about anything, no matter what it is, without fear of losing their internet access,” she said.
“That is probably one of the primary reasons children don’t tell their parents something, like pornography, that has come up on their computer.
“They might see it, they might be worried about it but they often don’t tell parents because they’re going to say ‘that was something you’ve been told not to look at, you’re banned for the next week’.”
She said it was also important to talk to children about the consequences of their actions in cyberspace.
“The digital footprint is a big thing and I think we haven’t seen the repercussions of that yet, because the real issue around digital safety has risen since the increase in portable devices,” she said.
“Years ago, the main computer was in a living area where the parents had a better understanding of what people were doing online. Of course now the majority of children have a portable device that very often they have in their rooms, and parents often have no idea of what their children are doing online.
If parents, grandparents or any one that cares for children is interested in this WACSS’s Cyber Safety workshop, please register your interest in attending with Trudy McKenna via email on firstname.lastname@example.org or phone 0438 551 210.