Online Safety


Safety Tips for Parents/Guardians

Safe Place Services recommends the following tips for parents/guardians keeping children and young people safe on the internet and in their use of electronic communication:

  • Computers should be used in visible places
  • An internet filter sould be used
  • Parents/guardians should have login passwords for the computer
  • Address lists and contact lists should be reviewed by parents/guardians regularly (for mobile phones, email and social networking sites)
  • Children and young people should be informed from a young age that sharing private details, such as their full name; date of birth; and details about where they live should be avoided on-line. If parents monitor the child/young person's use of the internet from young age this can be checked
  • Children and young people should be advised to never meet face-to-face with a person that they ONLY know via the internet but don't know as a real person

Despite the above tips, children and young people will remain at risk whilst on-line and using electronic forms of communication. All risk cannot be avoided, as it cannot in the off-line world. The key is to start young and teach children about the risks and tell them why you have certain rules in place. With children now growing up in a cyberworld, and devices becoming more portable and concealable, it is virtually inevitable that they will encounter either inappropriate content OR people whilst on-line or using electronic communication. Establishing a parent-child relationship where children can be taught about the risks, and how to navigate away form inappropriate content OR people, will help them make safe and effective choices as they grow older. This will place them in good-standing for when they do face on-line risks.

There are some specific safeguards for certain technology that Safe Place Services also recommend:

  • A parent/guardian should be on their young person's list of friends on social networking sites
  • A 'rule' for social networking by young people may be that a parent/guardian will check their social networking site periodically
  • A 'condition' of the privilege of a young person having a mobile phone may be that a parent/guardian checks the call list, messages and other history stored on the phone periodically

It is common for young people to like their independance and freedom, so again it is important to start good habbits and groundrules when they are young and to establish these when they first get the privilege of using technology.

Tips for Electronic Communication and Social Networking for Church and School Groups

Safe Place Services also recognise the potential for 'grooming' conduct to occur on-line. Therefore, it is a Code of Conduct for Church Workers (Employees) particularly for ministers and teachers that:

  • Permission from the Church Board or School Principal should be sought, before any minister or teacher sets up an internet site or befriends students or groups of youth/congregants on social networking sites
  • When the Church Board or School Principal permits an internet or social networking site to be created, a supevisor/monitor for the site should also be appointed, to provide a point of accountability back to the Church Board or school Principal
  • Parents/guardians should be invited/welcome to join such sites or social networking groups along with their young people
  • Ministers and teachers should only post or message on such internet sites between certain hours, as part of a Code that is well known to students/youth/congregants who are part of the group
  • Ministers and teachers should avoid favoratism or focusing attention towards a certain young person or persons whilst on-line or via text/phone calls and messages
  • Individual communication, as opposed to group-based communication, should only be undertaken as is necessitated by the role of minister/teacher

Safe Place Services views electronic communication and social networking tools as neutral medium. The goal is to use them as safely, accountably and transparently as possible and minimize the risks to all participants so far as is possible.


  • Australian Government website
  • Bullying website
  • Cyber-bullying website by the Australian Federal Police, see
  • Reporting 'spam' to the Australian Communications and Media Authority can be done at
  • For advice on scams and reporting them, see
  • Cyber-harassment and Identity Theft - can be reported to Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000 or reported to State or Territory police
  • Cyber-bullying can also be reported to your Internet Service Provider (ISP)

For a Fact Sheet on Bullying, produced by Safe Place Services, click here