How to deal with your child’s unwanted contact online
Socialising online can be a great way for children to build friendships, but it can also put them at risk such as unwanted contact.
Unwanted contact is any type of online communication that your child finds unpleasant or confronting, or further that leads them into a situation where they might do something they regret. This can happen even if they initially welcomed the contact. It can come from strangers, online ‘friends’ your child has not met face-to-face, or from someone they actually know.
Miss B recieves unwanted contact via her phone
How to deal with unwanted contact
If someone is contacting your child and this contact is unwanted or makes them feel uncomfortable, here are some things you can do to help.
For younger children, ensure their social media accounts are not publicly available and establish rules around what types of content they should share online.
For older children, suggest they make their social media accounts private. By adjusting their privacy settings, they can stay in control of who sees what they post online and who can contact them directly. For more information on privacy settings see the eSafety Guide.
Encourage your child to delete contacts they don’t talk to. Ask them to go through all the people who follow them or they are friends with on social media and check that they actually know them. If not, it is probably a good idea to delete them.
Let your child know that they can talk to you if they receive any contact that makes them feel uncomfortable.
If your child receives any unwanted contact from someone they know or a stranger, encourage them to report and block this person. The eSafety Guide has online safety information and direct reporting links. If the contact persists, or it becomes aggressive or threatening contact your local police.
Encourage your child to delete friend or follow requests from people they don’t know. A good tip is to get them to check whether new requests share mutual friends. If they feel unsure about someone, encourage them to delete the request.