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Media Release: More kids online means more opportunity for exploitation

Article image for Media Release: More kids online means more opportunity for exploitation

Posted by CarlyRyanFoundation

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As we approach the looming inevitably of more extreme shutdowns, The Carly Ryan Foundation sees this as an opportunity for families to discuss what online safety will look like as internet use increases.

Sonya Ryan, CEO & Founder of the Carly Ryan Foundation said: "As schools move to online learning environments and parents look to relax screen time in order to cope with self-isolation measures, there has never been a better time to start a conversation about responsible internet use."

"The Foundation has a range of resources available to download on our website, including factsheets on apps that children and young adults may be using at increasing levels, and a family online safety contract that families can use as a guide for how they will manage online time moving forward."

"We acknowledge that there is a lot of anxiety within the community, and that being online and connected is more important than ever. We see this is an opportunity for the world to take a deep breath, pause, and reflect on what we value. Fill your online time with kindness, good intention and thoughtful purpose."

"As the online world becomes one of the most valuable connections to the people we love at this time, the Foundation remains ready to assist any families that experience online safety issues. We will get through this together."

The US Federal Bureau of Investigation released a statement noting the potential of an increased risk of child exploitation following school closures in the US. 

It is therefore important that parents continue to be mindful of any changes in their children's behaviour or other concerning signs, such as:

  • being secretive about who they are talking to online
  • switching to a new screen when you come near the device they are using
  • appearing controlled by their phone
  • getting defensive about their online activities
  • receiving unexplained gifts, money or in-game currency 
  • becoming emotionally volatile (mood swings are common in all young people, but more severe changes could indicate that something is wrong)
  • using sexual language that you wouldn’t expect them to know
  • engaging less with their usual friends
  • changes in behaviour that activate your intuition that something 'is not right'

The Foundation can be contacted at, or follow our Facebook, Instagram or Twitter profiles for ongoing online safety messaging. 

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