PARENTS and schools are invited to comment on a Coalition Discussion Paper about improved online safety for children.
The CDP has the backing of The Nationals' Federal Member for Cowper, Luke Hartsuyker, who can speak from personal experience.
"Many parents and teachers I speak to throughout the Coffs Coast feel ill-equipped to deal with the challenge of protecting children from online dangers," he said.
"When I was a kid, my parents were concerned about 'stranger-danger' and now, parents are worried about cyber-bullying, internet predators and children seeing things not appropriate for their age.
"Just because we live in a beautiful area of regional Australia does not mean we are immune from this threat.
"The nature of the internet means children everywhere can be exposed to threatening and harmful behaviour.
"The internet is a great thing.
"It's revolutionised all our lives, yet it's also a real challenge for many parents."
Mr Hartsuyker said today's children are immersed in the internet and that 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," he said.
"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 Hartsuyker 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.
He believes improving online safety for children is above politics and needs the combined effort of parents, carers, schools, police, governments and technology providers.
"Frankly, if there is something that is on social media that targets a child, then it should be ripped down as soon as possible," he added.
"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.
"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."
Written submissions should be sent to:
Senior Adviser (Social Policy)
(Secretary to the Working Group)
Office of the Leader of the Opposition, Hon Tony Abbott MHR
Suite RG 109, Parliament House, Canberra. ACT 2600
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