UOW expert talks cyber safety

Parents have a new resource to turn to when discussing selfies, sexting and security with their children.

The first episode of the federal government’s cyber safety series Chatterbox was released online on Tuesday to coincide with International Safer Internet Day.

University of Wollongong cyber safety expert Professor Willy Susilo said cyber safety entailed more than setting Facebook profiles on private.

Posting selfies and trying to garner ‘‘likes’’ impacted a user’s psychology.

‘‘Trying to increase your popularity on social media is addictive,’’ he said.

‘‘Although it is applicable to adults, the impacts are more significant on teenagers and children, who are in their formative years.

‘‘A young person’s self-esteem could be affected, especially if they don’t get the popularity they are looking for.’’

According to a government survey last year, 78 per cent of children and teenagers turned to their parents when confronted with cyber safety issues.

A total of 1001 parents and 974 children and teenagers participated in the study, which showed parents in turn, searched the internet for information on cyber safety.

Their main concerns were exposure to inappropriate content (70 per cent), unwanted contact from strangers (69 per cent), protecting personal information (64 per cent) and cyber bullying (63 per cent).