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This is number 4 in a series of great articles designed to put in school newsletters to keep parents informed around the latest cybersafety issues. They have been developed by Cybersmartthe Cybersmart team at ACMA and are available via http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/Outreach/Connected.aspx

Schools are encouraged to copy and paste these in your school newsletter or share them online

4 – Advice to help manage children’s time online

A child’s life is full of opportunities for them to spend time out of school with community groups, sporting clubs and their friends. Spending time online is also a regular activity for many children who enjoy communicating with friends, sharing information and playing games.

Whilst there are no guidelines for the ‘right’ amount of time someone should spend online or gaming, if your child is being negatively impacted by excessive use it may be time to discuss how they can take action to maintain a healthy balance.

  • Look for indicators that your child may be spending too much time online, such as a declined interest in other activities, talking constantly about an online game or activity, a decline in grades, or irritability.
  • Discuss how other aspects of their life are being affected. Excessive use can impact on someone’s health and wellbeing, family, relationships, work or education.
  • Consider establishing rules about when your child can play games or use the internet and how long they can play for. You might make a mutual agreement to set a balance of online and offline activities. You may need to establish consequences for rule breaches. Depending on the age of the child you may also set passwords that they do not know.
  • Locate the computer in a shared or visible place in the home so you know how much time your child is being spent online and what they are doing online.
  • Seek support if you have concerns. Visit the Cybersmart Online Helpline to access free, confidential counselling for children and young people.

If you or someone you know wants to talk about online issues, visit the Cybersmart Online Helpline (www.cybersmart.gov.au/report.aspx) or call Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.

DEECD resources can be found http://www.education.vic.gov.au/about/programs/bullystoppers/Pages/parents.aspx