Children can be particularly vulnerable online. They may become victims of cyber-bullying, targets of online grooming or be exposed to inappropriate online content which involves concepts they are not developmentally ready to manage.
Children often do not tell their parents about online incidents, in fear that it will make the situation worse. This may be damaging to a young person’s health and wellbeing, particularly if they have already experienced mental illness or trauma.
If you know or suspect that your child has been a victim of cyber-bullying or any other type of cybercrime, it is important that he or she feels comfortable to speak about the incident with you, a teacher or another trusted adult.
Your child may also benefit from contacting Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800. Kids Helpline is a free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between 5 and 25. It is available 24 hours a day to help with all sorts of problems, big and small.
If you or your child has seen material online depicting sexual conduct involving children or you suspect an adult has engaged in any inappropriate activity involving a child, there are well-established processes in place for the reporting and investigation of online offences against children. Given the seriousness of these offences and the need to act immediately, the ACORN does not accept reports on online offences against children.
The Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner accepts reports of offensive and illegal online content including child sexual abuse material.
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 Crimestoppers on 1800 333 000.