Compassion is Key in Handling Cyber Safety Issues with Kids

Focus on the Family say that compassion goes a long way when it comes to handling online incidents and tricky topics with our kids.

By Salt 106.5 Network Sunday 17 Apr 2022ParentingReading Time: 3 minutes

A recent study conducted by the Australian Centre to Counter Child Exploitation revealed that four in five parents would respond with anger and blame if they discovered their child was sharing inappropriate images online.

The Australian Federal Police are urging parents to take a compassionate approach when it comes to online behaviour. Such an approach better ensures that parents will remain approachable in the eyes of their kids.

Brett Ryan from Focus on the Family Australia talks about the importance of compassion and how to lead healthy conversations about tricky topics with your children.

Such conversations are becoming increasingly complex due to our rapidly changing world. Where we once passed notes to our crushes at school, it’s becoming increasingly common to send or coerce others into sending inappropriate images to one another.

“At the click of a button you can have access to incredible and healthy information but, at the same time, it has some detrimental effects,” Brett said. “They can be pornography, sexting or highly sexualised content.

“We’re not perfect parents and we’re not going to have perfect kids either.

“Our kids are going to make mistakes and how we respond to our children when they do is critical.

“The calmer we are, the more that we show that we care, the more we show that we’re compassionate and understanding. There will still be consequences of their poor choices but our job as parents is to be their pre-frontal cortex. Their pre-frontal cortex is not quite developed yet and so they’ll do things without thinking through the consequences.”

“Our kids are going to make mistakes and how we respond when they do is critical.” ~ Brett Ryan, Focus on the Family

So how can we be more compassionate in our homes and towards our children when they make mistakes? Where do we start?

Brett encouraged us to look in the mirror and check in with how we’re coping as a parent. To ask how are we really coming across? Are we reacting or responding?

If you’re struggling and feel like you’re going to lose it – try removing yourself from the situation for a few moments. Remember to breathe and regulate your own emotions, so you can approach the situation with compassion and understanding.

“Our kids are going to be faced with all sorts of challenges and our homes should be a haven,” Brett said. “Whether it’s with Mum or with Dad, they can actually come and talk about these things, and know we’re not going to react, we’re going to respond.”

The best option is to try and have these tricky conversations in advance. Your children will be more willing to bring things to you and they’ll be more comfortable to talk about anything and everything.


Article supplied with thanks to 96five.

Focus on the Family have many resources available online, including tools for how to talk about the big issues with your kids.

Feature image: by Ralston Smith on Unsplash