ON A KINDER NOTE with Dolly's Dream | Protecting teens in cyberspace

Protecting teens in cyberspace

Many parents worry about their teens being contacted online by a stranger, so here's how to keep your family safe.

- Ask your teens regularly about what's happening online, and what they would do if something didn't feel right. Rehearse saying things like 'Don't message me again' or 'I don't friend people I don't know'. Be clear that if something went wrong, you would want them to tell you - and you would not confiscate their devices.

- Encourage them to choose the highest privacy settings, and avoid contact with people they haven't met.

- Remind them to keep personal information private.

- Ensure they know how to block and report disturbing content.

- Caution them to check that if someone claims to know one of their friends or relatives, it's true.

- Talk them through the warning signs: Is someone you haven't met sending you heaps of messages? Are they asking weird or personal questions? Are they acting like you're already best friends? Do they ask you for photos? Do they ask you to keep secrets?

- Make sure your teens can name trusted adults they could talk to, eg a relative, sporting coach or teacher.

- Jessie Mitchell, Dolly's Dream