From online bullying to stumbling across inappropriate content, making the Internet as safe a place as possible for children is a priority to parents.

Tuesday February 11, 2020 is Safer Internet Day. A day when millions of people around the world unite to raise awareness about online safety issues and inspire positive change.

The campaign aims to reach out to children and young people, parents and carers, teachers, educators and social workers, as well as industry, decision makers and politicians, to encourage everyone to play their part in creating a better internet. Sounds good to us!

How can children make a difference? There are plenty of ways, including being kind and respectful to others online, by protecting their online reputations (and those of others), and by seeking out positive opportunities to create, engage and share online.

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Chat to your kids about online safety as soon as they are old enough to use devices.

As for parents, we can help by educating  our kids to use technology safely and positively.

Research by the Australian eSafety Commissioner’s Office reveals the majority (94%) of parents want their child to be safe online, however almost a third of parents do not understand how to use the safety features on their child’s social media, apps and games. While one in 10 do not use the age guidelines suggested for these platforms.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant says “parents, carers, educators, and the general public are increasingly concerned about the online safety of children — including very young children — but feel unsure about how to tackle these important issues head-on.”

Julie says parents need to chat to their children about online safety as soon as they are old enough to use devices.

“We know that about 81 per cent of parents are giving their children access to digital devices by the time they’re four years old.”

“The minute they get those devices is the minute parents need to start that engagement,” says Julie.

eSafety online safety tips for parents

* Check apps or games are age-appropriate

* Check for chat and live video functions – turn these off or switch to friends-only.

* Make sure your child is using devices in common areas of the home like the kitchen or lounge room.

* Use parental controls to help manage your child’s online activities.

* Be actively engaged – co-view and co-play, ask questions and let them know you are there to support them if they feel uncomfortable or upset.

* Be sure your children are using best-practice apps such as LEGO Life  which are designed with safety in mind.

LEGO helps inspire and develop children through creative play.

Angie Tutt is Senior Director, Head of Marketing at LEGO Australia and she believes parents can encourage internet safety by using digital platforms, such as LEGO Life, that are designed with safety in mind.

“Look out for apps that do not disclose any personal information, allow parents to access the app and control what functions kids can use, and have moderators ensuring safe play is being conducted 24/7,” she says.

While LEGO has traditionally been an off-line platform, Angie says that the LEGO Life app “balances physical and digital play, innovating on the best of today’s social network features and safeguarding them for kids.”