It seems that the Internet is a constant source of stress for parents, particularly in regard to three main things. 

Telstra released a report last week that stated Aussie kids spent on average, two hours per day online, and this was relatively high when compared to the rest of the world.

The amount of time our kids spend online could be one reason why an OECD PISA assessment ranked Australian students ranked 2nd in the World for Digital Literacy.

Incidentally, this is the same organization that publishes the more traditional numeracy and literacy assessment reports, on which Australia seems to struggle, and causes so much angst for politicians.

The Devil’s advocate in me wonders what’s going to be more important for these kids as they get older?

I wonder if the fact our kids are second in the World (with girls faring better than boys by the way) for digital literacy should be celebrated with as much vigour (if not more) as the country’s perceived lowly rankings in traditional literacy assessments are pilloried.

Having said that, regardless of literacy levels, the Internet still worries us and our kids’ activities online cause parents stress.

Parents primary concerns were:

  • Protecting personal information online.
  • Exposure to inappropriate content.
  • Cyberbullying.

In order to address these concerns, the article suggested should take the following steps:

Be involved – talk to your kids and find out what they do in their digital lives. Try out your kids’ favourite apps and websites.

Model good behaviour – Set a positive example for your kids by turning off your devices and practicing safe and responsible behaviour.

Set time limits – establish clear rules about the amount of time kids can spend on their devices each day

Encourage a balance – support your kids’ offline activities

Play respectfully – Remind kids not to say mean things. If they wouldn’t do it offline, don’t do it online!

Watch your steps – remind kids that what you do online today can be used against you tomorrow. So keep it private or don’t do it…a digital footprint has consequences.


Author: Dan Haesler, he is a teacher, consultant, and speaker at the Mental Health & Wellbeing of Young People seminars He writes for the Sydney Morning Herald and blogs at and tweets at @danhaesler