Discuss cyber safety with your children: Nola Marino

Federal Member for Forrest Nola Marino was given the chance to address the nation’s parliament last week on a topic very important to her – cyber security. Here is an extract of what she had to say. 

I have been working in cybersafety for many years, and I have delivered hundreds of presentations in schools and community groups and more broadly.

One of the things I would say to parents is: why not have a look at your children’s Google history.

You can even google certain words yourself – certain anatomical words, perhaps and see what you can come up with, and see how many of those sites actually ask about your age or what you can have access to.

I also know that some of the young children whom I speak to who are looking at pornographic material are actually choosing to ‘like’ some of the items on there, and, out of those sites, it is not unusual for the site to harvest their name and attach it to that particular product.

I have also had to deal with the issues around physical and psychological damage that go with learning about sex from a pornographic site. 

I asked the parents, when I had the parent sessions: ‘Where are your children right now? Who are they with? What are they doing? Generally, they can answer me very well.

Then I ask them, When they’re online, can you answer those same three questions, where are they, what are they doing and who are they with?  I ask that because they are with someone, they are doing things and they are somewhere.

I do know, from those young people, that they are allowed to have their devices in their rooms 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Of course, it is very important for parents to communicate with their children before the first device is given to them.

The family needs to have a discussion as a family about devices and ask: What rules are we going to put in place for each other?

We all need to work with these rules in our families, and we all need to know the security strengths and weaknesses. I encourage every parent to have that discussion with their children as early as possible before the first device is given.