FTA FAN: MP for Page Kevin Hogan.
FTA FAN: MP for Page Kevin Hogan. David Neilsen

Discussing a safer internet

PAGE Nationals candidate Kevin Hogan is inviting local parents and schools to comment on a Coalition discussion paper about improved online safety for children.

"I know that many parents and school teachers that I speak to feel ill-equipped to deal with the challenge of protecting children from online dangers," Mr Hogan said.

"As a parent of teenage children myself, I am very aware parents are worried about cyber-bullying, internet predators and children seeing things that are not appropriate for their age.

"The internet is a great thing. It's revolutionised all our lives, yet it's also a real challenge for many parents.

"Today's children are immersed in the internet. Facebook, networking games, smart phones and iPads are all part of the typical daily life of a young person. I don't think many parents realise how many internet connections their children have.

"Christmas is coming up - and most of the iPods, mini-iPads, x-boxes, wii's, smart phones, tablets and laptops all can access the internet.

Mr Hogan said the release of the Coalition's Discussion Paper on Enhancing Online Safety for Children provided a number of practical solutions to help parents and teachers. These included:

  • Establishing a Children's e-Safety Commissioner to take a national leadership role in online safety for children.
  • Implementing Rapid Removal protocols with large social media outlets ensuring the rapid removal of material that is targeted at and likely to cause harm to an Australian child, through a co-operative regulatory scheme.
  • Assisting parents and carers make informed decisions about devices such as smartphones and tablets, by establishing recognised branding indicating their suitability for younger children and teenagers.
  • Providing greater support for schools through a stronger online safety component within the National Safe Schools Framework, and assisting with online safety resources for schools.
  • Undertaking a national public education campaign to highlight online safety issues.

"Frankly, if there is something that is on social media that targets a child, then it should be ripped down as soon as it can," Mr Hogan said.

"The real concern of the parents I talk to is the fear their children will be cyber-bullied. The worst thing about cyber-bullying, is that a child can't escape it even at home."

Mr Hogan said he believed improving online safety for children was above politics and that it needed the combined effort of parents, carers, schools, police, governments and technology providers.

"This isn't about limiting or restricting adult's access to the internet, it's about finding better ways to help protect our kids from the worst of the internet," he said.

"This has been a great initiative and I do invite parents, schools, young people and the wider community to have their say and make a submission and contribute to the development of our final policy."

Information on how to comment is contained within the discussion paper.

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