Early online education in the spotlight at Perth Symposium on Child Sexual Abuse Prevention

Safe4Kids managing director Holly-Ann Martin wants parents to talk to children about online behaviour.
Safe4Kids managing director Holly-Ann Martin wants parents to talk to children about online behaviour.

A PERTH-based child abuse prevention educator says parents need to have conversations with their children about inappropriate interactions with others and their online behaviour by the age of six.

Safe4Kids managing director Holly-Ann Martin is speaking at this week’s Child Sexual Abuse Prevention Symposium in Wembley.

Ms Martin will be discussing her experience of being contacted by schools dealing with child to child sexual abuse, something she said was on the increase.

“Schools will do what teachers feel comfortable with, but we need parents and teachers to have these difficult conversations,” she said.

“Over the last week-and-a-half I’ve worked with close to 1000 kids and they’re all admitting to me they go online when their parents are asleep or aren’t watching – parents don’t realise how much pornography is on YouTube.”

Ms Martin said in each case she had been called to a school about an incident, students had seen and been influenced by pornography.

She said parents and teachers needed to keep up with the times when it came to educating children about abuse.

“That’s why I wrote children’s books – they can sit side by side reading a book, with the exact words they need to say,” she said.

“They need to sit down and have these discussions.”

The third Perth Symposium on Child Sexual Abuse Prevention takes place on November 2 at the Telethon Speech and Hearing Centre.