Preventing exposure to inappropriate online content

The internet has provided a new medium for people to share inappropriate, illegal or prohibited content with a wider audience. This content can be distressing for people who are inadvertently exposed to it, especially to children.

Children may encounter inappropriate content online, either by typing in an incorrect URL, through pop-up advertisements or by clicking on links in emails. This may be damaging to a young person's health and wellbeing, as it exposes them to concepts that they are not ready to manage and that may breach social and cultural norms.

You should consider the following steps to protect yourself and your children from inappropriate online content:

  • install and maintain anti-virus and anti-spyware software on your devices,
  • explore options such as filters, parental controls and safe searching modes (you should explain to your children why you are using these),
  • discuss being safe online with your children and explain what they should do if they find something online which makes them feel uncomfortable,
  • help your children develop digital literacy skills, and
  • highlight the harms caused by child pornography and child abuse material.

If your child sees illegal or inappropriate online content please report this to the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner's online content complaint form.

If you suspect an adult has engaged in inappropriate activity involving a child, call the police immediately on Triple Zero 000 (if it is an emergency) or Crime Stoppers on 1800 333 000.