Because each situation is different, it's important to outline what issues young people might experience and strategies that have worked for others.
This section looks at:
- Shared something you regret?
- Spending too much time online?
If you need further advice or someone to talk to, please visit our further support section below.
Have you shared something you regret?
Everything you do or say online can be a reflection of you and your reputation, but if you’ve share something you regret, don’t panic.
It’s so easy to post online that we often do it without thinking about the consequences.
Sometimes, we post things we wish we hadn’t and want to get them removed.
Firstly, it’s not the end of the world.
Hopefully in most cases there are no serious consequences for your future, but you should be aware that there is no guarantee that others (such as future employers, academic institutions and new friends) won’t see the content in the future.
If you’ve seen content online you regret posting, you can contact the site administrator and ask them to remove the content.
But be aware your content could have been copied, shared or saved on someone’s device before you had a chance to remove it.
Nothing is so bad you can’t tell someone. Speak to a trusted adult, or counselling and support services.
What if your image is online?
ThinkUKnow what happens to your image when you press send? It can be very hard to get photos and videos removed if posted online.
We want young people to be aware that once they send or post something online, they have lost all control over where that image or message will end up.
Here’s ThinkUKnow top tips for young people:
- Search for yourself online to find out what your ‘digital shadow’ looks like.
- If an image of yourself appears on a website or app, and you have not consented to the use of this image, you contact the administrator to seek its removal.
- Contact the person who has shared the photo or video and ask them to remove it and delete all copies.
- Keep evidence by taking screenshots and noting the web addresses of the content. You can also use another device to take photos of the content.
- Google can stop specific pages containing inappropriate images appearing in image search results. This will only help with Google searches. The videos and photos will still be searchable using other search engines such as Yahoo.
- Make sure webcams are covered when not in use.
- If you need support, talk to someone you trust or, seek help. Kids Helpline is a great resource.
- Remember, under Commonwealth law, a sexually explicit image of someone under the age of 18 may constitute child pornography. Young people need to be aware that they may be committing a crime when taking, receiving or forwarding sexual images of themselves or friends who are minors.
- Offensive and illegal content can also be reported to the eSafety Commissioner, who can investigate and take action on content that is likely to be prohibited under law.
If you or someone you know is at risk of being abused, or an image was shared without consent speak with your local police and check our reporting page.
How much time are you spending online?
It’s easy to spend a lot of time online. But sometimes, the time can get away from us…
Why is it important?
Spending too much time online can impact your health and wellbeing.
If the time you are spending online is interfering with your life – perhaps your personal life, or your life at school or work, then you need to put some limits on your use of the internet.
The light from our LED screens, like those in our phones, laptops and tablets, can actually mess with our circadian rhythm. The blue light can slow or completely halt the production of melatonin, the hormone that tells us its time for bed.
What can I do?
Parents may like to download and install one of the many apps or software programs to help them control the amount of time children are spending online.
Adults may like to use timers or alarms to help them know when to stop and take break from the internet.
There are many resources available that can help you identify the signs of internet overuse and addiction. We suggest reading up on the signs so you know when it’s time to take action.
If spending too much time online is becoming a concern – you might also think about contacting a counselling or support service.
Why not set up a family contract and agree on an appropriate amount of time to be spending online?
- Know your limits and when it’s time to disconnect
- Monitor how much time your child is spending online
- Know what apps/controls are available to limit your child’s time online
- Know the signs of internet overuse or addiction and where to get further support
- set up a family contract and agree on an appropriate amount of time to be spending
Relationships: “It’s complicated”
Relationships can be difficult enough, let alone when you’re a teenager dealing with hormones and managing these through modern technology.
As we’ve already outlined, young people use the Internet to communicate with their friends and maintain relationships. This could be with friends or with partners.
We strongly encourage parents and carers to talk to young people about respectful relationships, both online and offline.
Research shows that sexualised images and exposure to pornography shape young people’s notions of gender, sexual expectations and practices.
For example, young people may engage in ‘sexting’ behaviour for various reasons including intimacy with their partner, in the hope to gain a partner, the belief that it is the ‘norm’ in young relationships gained from seeing other young people to do it, the media, or through exposure to pornography.
We encourage young people to seek ethical sources of information about sex and relationships. Pornography should not be seen as a source of sexual education.
If you are uncomfortable talking to your child about these issues, direct them to sexual health services or other sources of ethical information in your community.
See further support for more information.
If you believe a child is in immediate danger call Triple Zero (000). For Police non-urgent help call 131 444 or your local police station.
If you need further support in managing online issues or if you need someone to talk to, please visit:
24 hour support services
A free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service for young people aged 5 to 25.
Lifeline is a national service providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services.
Counselling and support services
Created to promote internet safety, the Carly Ryan Foundation provides support to families and the community through education, counselling, engagement, promotion and advocacy.
The Foundation cares for children who have experienced or witnessed serious violence, and runs evidence-based programs that prevent violence and advocate for children's safety and wellbeing.
A child protection organisation, Bravehearts’ national information and support line can be accessed by anyone wanting information or support relating to child sexual assault.
A network of education representatives that work together to help schools to create learning environments where every student and school community member is safe, supported, respected and valued.
A national youth mental health organisation providing early intervention mental health services to 12-25 year olds, along with assistance in promoting young peoples’ wellbeing.
A national identity and cyber support service that helps individuals and organisations reduce the harm they experience from the compromise and misuse of their identity information by providing effective response and mitigation.
An online mental health service for young people and their parents. They provide specially targeted information to help any young person who visits the service.
A national service that provides anonymous and free LGBTI peer support and referral for people wanting to talk about sexuality, identity, gender, bodies, feelings or relationships.
A national online system that allows the public to securely report instances of cybercrime. It also provides advice to help people recognise and avoid common types of cybercrime.
The eSafety Commissioner is responsible for promoting online safety for all Australians. Its remit includes providing a complaints service for young Australians who experience serious cyberbullying, identifying and removing illegal online content and tackling image-based abuse. The eSafety Commissioner also provides audience-specific content to help educate all Australians about online safety including young people, women, teachers, parents, seniors and community groups.
ScamWatch is run by the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC). It provides information to consumers and small businesses about how to recognise, avoid and report scams.
Children’s education services
ACT Policing's Constable Kenny Koala program is designed to educate children between three to 12 years of age on a range of safety themes, and to encourage them to turn to police for help and advice.