DO you know what your child is getting up to in their bedroom at night?
Do they have access to a computer or other device that can connect them to the internet?
The Bucketts Way Community of Schools will host a free seminar later this month called ‘Caring for our kids online’.
The seminar will be open to the whole community and aims to provide information for families on how to protect and support young people growing up in the digital age.
Gloucester Public assistant principal Rod Maggs said parents’ knowledge of what their children were getting up to online was a key focus of the seminar.
“(Principal) Leanne Wakefield and I attended a seminar on online safety in Taree late last term. We felt there was a real need for parents in Gloucester to know this stuff,” he said.
“There are so many issues parents have to deal with now and a lot of people are not equipped with the knowledge to do so.”
Mr Maggs said the seminar had revealed some startling truths about children and their use of the internet.
“For instance, 72 per cent of children aged between 10 and 14 have had unpleasant contact with a stranger online,” he said.
“The minimum age for users of KIK messenger is supposed to be 17. It is the number one app for sexual predators.
“Sexting is the act of sending an explicit message or photos electronically, whether by phone or an online application. The biggest age bracket for sexting is children aged between 10 and 14.”
Mr Maggs said the easiest way for parents to monitor what their children were doing online was to remove any devices with internet capabilities from bedrooms.
He said the seminar would provide information on ‘tough’ parenting strategies as well as the potential ‘digital footprint’ that children and their parents were creating online.
“We’ll also be holding separate information sessions for the high school and primary school children as well as a staff development session,” Mr Maggs said.
The seminar will be a multi-agency initiative with support from the Bucketts Way Neighbourhood Group, Community Health, child mental health agencies and the police.
It will be run in conjunction with National Reading Hour.
The Gloucester Public library will be open for school-aged children to read and enjoy various books and digital texts. Supervision will be provided.
The seminar will be held at the Gloucester Public School hall from 5.30pm on Monday, August 18.
Participants are asked to bring along their mobile or other device for practical tips on how to improve their Facebook privacy settings following the seminar.