Group of teenagers on their phones

With a recent survey showing that Australian teens spend around 3.3 hours a day on social media, ensuring the safety of young people online is a concern for many parents. The following websites and resources provide practical advice and support for parents, teachers and health professionals about keeping young people safe and mentally healthy online.

Translated Resources

E-safety in languages
Office of the eSafety Commissioner 
These resources offer practical, issues focused information and advice for parents of children of all ages about online safety.  Available in Arabic, Cantonese (Chinese Traditional), Dari, Dinka, Filipino (English/ Filipino), Hazaraghi, Khmer, Korean, Mandarin (Chinese Simplified), Pacific Islands (English), Persian, Somali, South Asian (English),Thai, Turkish and Vietnamese.

Tagged is short film for young people about a group of high-school friends who experience first hand the life consequences caused by cyberbullying, sexting and a negative digital reputation. Tagged has received acclaim for its realistic depiction of teenagers and the problems they can face in a digital world. Available in Arabic, Chinese, English Greek, Italian and Vietnamese.

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Information for parents

E-safety and Wellbeing Directory
This directory, produced by the Australian Office of the eSafety Commissioner brings resources together in one place to make it easier to find the right information and support about e-safety.

Growing up digital: young people, technology and mental health
This video from the NSW Mental Health Commission features journalist Mia Freedman, ReachOut CEO, Jono Nicholas and Samantha Yorke from Public Policy and Government Affairs, Google Australia discussing how parents and guardians can keep young people safe, happy and well as they use digital technologies.

Instagram Wellbeing Guide for Parents
This Guide aims to fill you in on what Instagram is all about, give you some conversation starters for you and your teen and show you some of the tools that are in place to keep your teen safe.

e-Safety Parents and Carers
Office of the eSafety Commissioner
e-Safety Parents and Carers is an online space where parents can learn about the digital environment and how to help your child have safe and enjoyable online experiences. It looks at issues such as cyberbullying, online pornography, unwanted contact, nudes and sexting, online gaming, eating disorders, social networking, balancing time online and privacy.

Mental health professionals for teenagers
Raising Children Network
There are many different mental health professionals who provide mental health services for teenagers. This guide for parents can help you understand who does what – and how different professionals can help your child.

Parental involvement in preventing and responding to cyberbullying.
Australian Institute of Family Studies. CFCA Paper No. 4 — May 2012
This paper outlines definitions and statistics related to cyberbullying, differences between cyberbullying and offline bullying, and parents' roles and involvement in preventing and responding to cyberbullying incidents.

Taming the technology
Office of the eSafety Commissioner
Taming the technology introduces parental control tools which can help parents monitor and limit what their children do online. There are many tools available and they all offer different functions, with some even allowing parents to limit the time children spend on specific websites or games. This page outlines some of those tools, how to use them and their effectiveness.

Social Media and Teenagers
This page aims to help parents learn more about social media and teens, the different types of social media, why social media matters to teens,  what the risks and benefits of social media can be and how to know if something is wrong.

Think U Know
This program is a partnership between the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Microsoft Australia, Datacom and the Commonwealth Bank. ThinkUKnow is a free, evidence-based cyber safety program that provides presentations to Australian parents, carers and teachers and students. It provides information on the technologies young people use, the challenges they may face, and importantly, how they can be overcome. Presentations are delivered face to face or digitally.

Common Sense Media - USA
Common Sense is a nonprofit organisation dedicated to helping kids thrive in a world of media and technology. The Common Sense Media website provides information, advice, and tools to facilitate this.

The Mental Health section of the website helps parents to learn about keeping media and tech use healthy and positive, identifying mental health red flags, and when it might be time to step in. It also offers advice and solutions for potential pitfalls such as addiction, anxiety, depression, and suicidal ideation.

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Resources for young people

Cyberbullying -Reachout
Cyberbullying is bullying that’s done by means of technology - for example, using the internet or a mobile phone to hurt, harass or embarrass someone. If you’re experiencing cyberbullying in Australia, you’re not alone. Unfortunately, up to one in five young Australians have reported being cyberbullied. This page provides articles that help with what to do about online bullying.

Cartoon of teenage girlThe Lost Summer
The Lost Summer is a role-playing video game, designed to be a highly engaging experience for 11-14 year olds while building digital intelligence skills and encouraging online safety. The Lost Summer immerses players in a futuristic environment where they need to exercise personal and social capabilities such as critical thinking, empathy, resilience, respect and responsibility to complete challenges and advance through the game.

Reword is a free online tool that prompts children and teenagers to reconsider their choice of words in real-time before they post negative comments.
Reword was developed by Leo Burnett Melbourne in partnership with headspace National Youth Mental Health Foundation to combat online bullying. The tool works by flagging potentially harmful content as the user types. When reword detects phrases that could constitute bullying, it highlights them with a red line, giving the writer pause for thought.

Young and esafe
Young & eSafe is practical advice by young people, for young people to help challenge the haters and fakers online.

Youthbeyondblue fact sheet
This fact sheet describes what bullying and cyberbullying are, the impact of bullying, what to do if you are being bullied and how to take care of yourself and find support from others.

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Research and Reports

Aussie teens and kids online
Australian Communications and Media Authority (2016)
This research snapshot highlights how young people are now engaging online, the devices they use and the services and activities that draw them online. Understanding the levels of online engagement by young people is the first step in exploring related issues such as trust and online safety. 

Digital Me Survey
Australian Pschological Society (2017)
Digital Me is a survey conducted as part of Psychology Week 2017. This national survey of Australian adults and teens examines how the widespread use of digital technology and social media is affecting their wellbeing, behaviour and self-image.

Culturally and Linguistically Diverse Young People and Digital Citizenship (PDF 1.41 MB)
Centre for Multicultural Youth (2018)
This paper looks at how young first and second generation Victorians are accessing and using digital technology to engage in social, economic, political and cultural life online.

Enhancing parents’ knowledge and practice of online safety: A research report on an intergenerational ‘Living Lab’ experiment.
Third, A., Spry, D. & Locke, K. (2013) Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre, Melbourne.
Recent research demonstrates that a generation gap shapes the online safety management strategies parents and young people deploy. This project trialled a learning model that encourages conversations and skills transfer between young people and adults about the benefits and risks of being online, and strategies for ensuring online safety by deliberately positioned young people as experts or educators.

Like, post, share: Young Australians’ experience of social media (PDF 3.67MB)
Australian Communications and Media Authority (2013)
This report outlines key trends in online use among children and teenagers, and how parents view their children’s online world.The report studied the way children and young people use the internet and social media, and explored emerging trends, such as the rise of mobile internet access.

Settlement in the Digital Age (PDF 906.67KB)
Centre for Multicultural Youth (2017)
The paper looks at the impact that technology is having on settlement for newly arrived young people in Victoria. It provides recommendations focus on addressing barriers to digital inclusion, including access to technology and the skills to use it.

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