As young people use more digital technology, it’s important parents teach them about online safety. While there might be a gap between what your child knows and how much you know about technology, you can still help. It’s important to share your wisdom as your child learns to be safe online. Use these five tips to help your child thrive online.


  • Most social media and gaming organisations have a safety centre. Look at the safety centres with your child and teach them how to use the tools available. Start with how to block people, how to report content and how to use privacy settings –  Facebook | Snapchat | Instagram |YouTube | Twitter
  • Teach your child to capture screenshots or URLs in case something goes wrong and this information is needed
  • One of the other things parents will think about at some stage is whether their child needs a device. If you’re considering getting your child their own device, check out the advice.
  • Teach your kids The Five Tips to Help Your Child Thrive


The Five tips to help your child thrive are some of the best online safety tools you can teach. Start with:

  1. Keep it locked: Passwords and pin codes help protect your child’s profiles and accounts. Set up pins and passwords with them, – and reinforce they shouldn’t share it with anyone except you. Get more information on how to choose a good password. Also think about using two factor authentication (2FA) as this makes it harder for someone to access your accounts.
  2. Keep it private: Some information when shared publicly online can make your child more vulnerable to identity theft or grooming. Have a discussion with your child around the best ways to share – sometimes this may publicly, or with friends and family only or by private message. Always be cautious when sharing:
    a. Passwords
    b. Address
    c. Birthdate
    d. Bank account details
    e. School details
    f. Sharing their location on apps
    g. Personal information that can be used to guess security questions
  3. Keep it helpful: A digital footprint is the trail of ‘electronic breadcrumbs’ you leave behind online and it needs to be managed carefully. It can last long after your child think something has been deleted and may follow them into adulthood. Talk to them around the possibility of their content being shared wider or people being tagged into contentwhich could cause harm.  Learn more about digital footprints
  4. Keep it Real: It can seem like common knowledge to adults, but it is hard for children to understand that not everyone is who they say they are. It can be exciting when people want to friend, communicate or follow them. Talk to your child about invites or conversations with strangers, why this is not safe and how they should handle it
  5. Keep it Friendly: Teach your child to be kind and respectful online, and to be careful talking to, or sharing information with, people they don’t know. It can be easy for a young person to type what they think is a joke or clever rebuttal without considering how their words could hurt someone. Encourage your child to:
    • Pause, read, send: Taking a moment to re-read a message before posting or sending is useful. Sometimes kids might rethink what their writing to make it friendlier.
    • Agree to disagree: Inevitably your child will find people who agrees with their opinion and those that don’t. Work with your child to find a sentence or phrase that they can use to let someone know if they ‘respectfully disagree’ or to let them know it’s okay disengage or mute a conversation.

The five tips are  available for download in PDF format just by clicking on the image below. Summary of the five tips in a PDF format


  • You or your child can contact Netsafe at any stage for free support
  • Youthline offers a free helpline (0800 376 633 or free text 234) for youth aged 12-24 as well as counselling services  
  • 0800 Whats Up offers a free helpline (0800 942 8787) for young people and teens 


You’re currently within the ‘Teach’ section of our Online Safety Parent Toolkit where we encourage sharing with your child basic skills to help them on their virtual journey.

This is the fifth step in our seven-step framework designed to help parents and whānau with digital parenting in a rapidly changing world.  We recommend reading through each step of the Toolkit as this will guide you on how to support your child to confidently access digital opportunities and reduce online harm.


If you’re concerned about the immediate safety of you or someone else, please call 111. If you want help or expert incident advice, you can contact us. Our service is free, non-judgemental and available seven days a week.


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