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Most Teens See Harmful Content Online | Blue Mountains Gazette

Six in ten teens have seen harmful content online – but most parents don’t know what graphic content their children are exposed to on their screens, including drug use, suicide and violent sexual material.

On Safer Internet Day, Australia’s Electronic Safety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, released research exploring online risks for children, which identified significant gaps in parental awareness of children’s exposure to online harm.

More than 3,500 people aged 8 to 17 and their parents were surveyed in August and September last year about children’s online lives and what parents know – and don’t know – about their children’s experiences. children.

It also examined digital parenting practices and the effects on children’s internet use and found that parents underestimated the prevalence of children’s negative online experiences.

“I think the worst thing here is that kids are seeing violent sexual material and bloody images,” Ms Grant told ABC TV on Tuesday.

“They find content about unhealthy eating, suicidal ideation and self-harm and they don’t tell their parents as much about it because it’s stigmatizing and no kid wants to get in trouble and get the internet taken away. “

By the age of four, 94% of Australian children have access to a digital device and parents now need to be fully involved in their children’s online lives, Ms Grant said.

Digital parenting must evolve as children grow.

eSafety research found:

* Six in ten teens have been exposed to harmful content such as drug use, suicide, self-harm and unhealthy eating, bloody images and violent sexual material, but only four in 10 parents are aware.

* Parents have limited knowledge of their children’s cyberbullying experiences. Nearly 70% of children who have been treated in a hurtful or mean way online have told their parents, but only 51% of parents say they knew about it.

* Parents are more aware of other harms, such as their child’s experiences when asked to share sexual images of themselves (11% of teens have experienced this, while 10% of parents are aware).

Almost all of the children surveyed took action in response to a negative online experience.

“It is encouraging to see that children are more informed and empowered to use online tools to block people, delete messages, change their privacy settings or report material to a website or media platform. social,” said Ms. Inman Grant.

eSafety offers a range of downloadable educational resources, including a family technology agreement for children aged five to eight.

Australian Associated Press