On this page:
- How to report inappropriate online content
- Safety tips for parents
How to report inappropriate online content
Any stored, offensive online material is prohibited and is to be reported to the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA). This includes:
- material containing detailed instruction in crime, violence or drug use;
- child pornography;
- excessively violent or sexually violent material;
- real depictions of actual sexual activity;
- material containing excessive and/or strong violence or sexual violence;
- material containing implied or simulated sexual activity;
- material that deals with issues or contains depictions which require an adult perspective.
The ACMA will investigate all valid complaints and take action in relation to prohibited and potentially prohibited content.
For more information, or to make a complaint, visit the ACMA website at www.acma.gov.au
Also see How to report online child sex exploitation
Safety tips for parents
The internet can be a fun place for socialising and learning, but it can also be used by adults to exploit children in a sexual way. Children and parents need to learn safe behaviours when using the internet: It is important that we take the time to guide, assist and supervise our children in the use of the internet.
- Choose a non identifiable, non gender specific username;
- Never send a picture of yourself to someone you don’t know, and never place a full profile and picture of yourself anywhere on the internet;
- Never give out any personal information whilst using IM or other networking programs including your real name, telephone or mobile phone number, mailing address, passwords or banking details;
- Never accept a friend, file or download from a person you don’t know, this includes links to a website;
- Know how to save copies of your child’s IM conversations;
- Be careful – people you meet online may not be who they say they are;
- Never give out personal information when you’re chatting online;
- Take a parent with you if you want to meet someone face to face that you’ve only spoken to online;
- Treat strangers on the internet the same as you would treat strangers in real life.
If any of the following situations occur, you should immediately contact police:
- Your child or anyone in the household has received child pornography.
- Your child has been sexually solicited.
- Your child has received sexually explicit images.
If any of these scenarios occur, keep you computer turned off in order to preserve evidence and assist police in their inquiries.
Sexting refers to the sending of provocative or sexual photos, messages or videos, generally using a mobile phone or posting this type of material online.
Sexting is a common occurrence between children. Engaging in this activity can result is serious sexual offences being committed by all parties. The result may be a criminal conviction or being registered as a serious sexual offender. This will have impact on future employment, travel and relationships. A simple act can result in a lifetime of shame.
- Warn your child about the consequences of sexting, both socially and legally.
- Remind them to think before they act - taking or sending sexual images, even of themselves, has ramifications may be illegal.
- Remind your child to delete any sexual content they receive from others and to avoid forwarding this type of content.
- Remind your child to consider the feelings of others when distributing any content by mobile phone or online.
- Learn how to use your child’s mobile phone and talk with them about what they can and can’t do with it.
- If you are concerned that a sexting incident may be a criminal matter, contact your local police.
Further safety tips can be found at the Australian Communication and Media Authority (ACMA) website at or the ThinkUKnow website produced by the Australian Federal Police in conjunction with Microsoft.
How to recognise online predators
Young people can spend hours online chatting with friends. Sometimes these friendships can build into, what they think are, "relationships". They can get caught up in something dangerous when their online buddy turns into their boyfriend/girlfriend.
Not everyone they meet online is going to be who they say they are. Their “someone special” can be an adult (or older teenager) posing as a friend with the sole purpose of gaining your child's trust to abuse them.
Grooming is how online predators manipulate children into meeting in real life with their sole goal of having sex with them. Predators will spend weeks, months, and/or possibly years "grooming" their victims before asking them to meet in real life.
Their goal is to make their potential victims feel loved and comfortable, by providing affection, attention, kindness and/or sending gifts. They will be up-todate on popular music and hobbies to keep your child's interest. Once they have gained their potential victim's trust, they will slowly start including sexual content to their conversations.
Online predators often follow some of below tricks to entice their victims.
- Chatting privately: If they meet in a chat room they will ask to talk with their victim in a private chat room or by phone/text messaging.
- Flattery: Online predators will flatter or give special attention to their victims. They will say they are in love with them or promise they can get them a job as a model.
- Intimidation: Once an online predator knows their victim, they can intimidate or threaten them by exposing pictures or telling their parents.
- Asking for personal information: Asking about their victim's interests such favourite music and movies. This gives them the upper hand when sending gifts. If they are sending gifts the potential victim can become comfortable enough to give out their address.
- Sympathy: Predators can pose as other teenagers using sympathy to gain their trust. When teens are at a certain age they feel no one understands them and they search for sympathy, support, or validation online from other teens.
Signs to watch out for:
- Spends more time online: Children who are being groomed begin to spend more time in chat rooms.
- Receives phone calls from people you don't know or makes calls to numbers you don't recognise (watch out for long distance calls): Online predators will try to contact their potential victims to set up meetings. If your kids remembered everything you taught them, they will not give out their phone number. But this will not stop online predators from giving your child their number or have him or her call them collect (which will allow them to get the number with caller id).
- Receives mail/packages from out-of-state or from names you don't recognise: Online predators will send letters or gifts to their potential victims. Online predators have sent airline tickets to entice their potential victims to visit them.
- Becomes withdrawn or secretive: To gain their potential victim's trust, an online predator will begin to drive a wedge between kids and their friends and family. If your child begins to skip classes or begins to blow off their friends, it could mean they are sneaking off to meet their online 'friend'. Be especially weary if they begin to quickly turn off the monitor when you walk into the room.
How to Protect Your Children
- Talk to Your Kids: Talk to them about online predators and the dangers of the internet.
- Have the Computer in a common area: Move the computer from your children's bedroom to the family room or an area where you have access to monitor their internet usage.
- Monitor the Amount of Time They Spend Online: Have a set time limit your kids can use the computer. If they begin spending more time online (especially at night) it can mean that there is a problem. If your kids begin to complain, don't give in because it is your job to protect them from online predators.
- Continue Educating Yourself: Do research and continue reading about the potential dangers that are out there.
Australia's eSafety Commissioner (eSafety) is collaborating with state and territory law enforcement bodies to deliver advice about online safety laws. This includes how to deal with serious online abuse - like cyberbullying, adult cyber abuse and image-based and illegal and restricted online content.
eSafety offers a range of free online safety training programs for people of all ages.
For more information visit the eSafety website at www.esafety.gov.au or download Resource Kit for Police (PDF)