Tuesday, 27 Feb 2018

Online safety top concern for Australian parents, new survey reveals

Parents rank cybersafety as their number one concern, according to our recent survey about issues facing Australian children today.

The online poll, conducted by Life Education in partnership with Hyundai Help for Kids, revealed that an overwhelming 95% of the more than 2200 Australian parents surveyed rated online safety as “very important”, with 5% rating it as “somewhat important”. No parents considered it to be “not important” or “not an issue”.

Australian parents from all states and territories were asked to rate a number of issues including online safety, illegal drugs, smoking, alcohol, misuse of medicine, obesity and learning and resilience.

While online safety was top of the list, illegal drugs came a close second, with 93% of parents rating it as “very important” and 7% considering it “somewhat important”.

Life Education NSW CEO Kellie Sloane said the results of the survey were consistent with the trends seen on the ground.

When Life Education began delivering programs to Australian students almost 40 years ago, the focus was on drug education. That priority has remained strong throughout the years, with steady demand for these programs. However, children these days face new challenges.

Kellie Sloane, Life Education NSW CEO

“When Life Education began delivering programs to Australian students almost 40 years ago, the focus was on drug education. That priority has remained strong throughout the years, with steady demand for these programs. However, children these days face new challenges,” Ms Sloane said.

“In response to growing concerns about online safety, in 2016 we launched our dedicated cybersafety module ‘bCyberwise’, which has become Life Education’s most sought after program, reaching around 70,000 students nationally in the past 12 months.

“Off the back of the success of this module, this year we introduced a new program called “Relate, Respect, Connect”, which teaches upper primary school students about safe and respectful relationships both online and off. We are already seeing a lot of interest from schools and parents for this new module.”

The survey also found that “learning and resilience” was high on the list of concerns, with 89% of parents considering it to be “very important’ and 11% “somewhat important”, followed by “obesity” (85% very important and 15% “somewhat important”).

Interestingly, smoking and alcohol ranked lower, with a small percentage of parents rating those concerns as either “not important” or “I don’t see it as an issue”.

“This might be reflective of current trends which show that young people today are drinking and smoking less than before, thanks to preventative health campaigns and messages in the media,” Ms Sloane said.

Misuse of medicines was the lowest on the list with only 72% of parents rating it as a “very important” concern, which Ms Sloane said highlighted the need for more awareness around the issue, with reports suggesting deaths involving prescriptions drugs are substantially on the rise in Australia.

Survey results

Online safety: 95% very important, 5% somewhat important

Illegal drugs: 93% very important, 7% somewhat important

Learning and resilience: 89% very important, 11% somewhat important

Obesity: 85% very important, 15% somewhat important

Smoking: 82% very important, 16% somewhat important, 1% not important, 1% I don’t see it as an issue

Alcohol: 81% very important, 18% somewhat important, 1% not important

Misuse of medicines: 72% very important, 25% somewhat important, 2% not important, 1% I don’t see it as an issue

  • About the author

    Life Education NSW

    For over 35 years, Life Education's specially trained educators have visited schools around Australia.

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