Being Share A.W.A.R.E.
What you need to know
Encouraging your child to use simple critical thinking skills before sharing content can help to prevent a number of online challenges. These challenges include sending illegal or inappropriate content, giving out personal information or participating in image-based abuse.
We’ve come up with a way to help your child be ‘Share A.W.A.R.E.’
The Share A.W.A.R.E acronym includes some questions for your child to ask themselves before sharing any type of content.
- A is for APPROPRIATE: You need to consider if what you are about to share is APPROPRIATE. Is the content suitable to be shared online? Is it illegal?
- W is for WHO: WHO could see what you share? Are you sharing it just to your real friends and family or could anyone see it?
- A is for ACCURATE: Is what you’re about to share ACCURATE? Is it real and true or is it a rumour, fake or pretend?
- R is for RESPECTFUL: Is your post RESPECTFUL? Will someone be hurt or upset by what you share?
- E is for ENVIRONMENT: Think about the ENVIRONMENT of the post you are about to share. Is it a photo with a background that may indicate your location, or your school or home address? Is it from a confidential or private conversation?
The answers to these questions will tell your child whether something should or shouldn’t be shared.
Advice for parents and carers
What you can do
- Help your child develop critical thinking skills about why they might share something online
- Have age-appropriate conversations about illegal and inappropriate content
- If your child is asked to share content that makes them feel uncomfortable or threatened, let them know they can speak to you or a trusted adult
- Know how to block inappropriate contact and report the behaviour.
Once your child shares an image or video online it can be hard to know where it will end up. It can be saved, copied or sent to other people, or even seen by an unintended audience.
Children may not give consideration to what personal information they are giving away in photos. Help them understand what’s in an image (for example their school uniform or sporting team logo) and how this can give away information without them even knowing.
We’ve created a family activity to help you start this discussion here.
What you can do
- Continue building critical thinking skills for sharing content and encourage your child to use the ‘Share A.W.A.R.E.’ acronym
- Have open and honest conversations with your child about what they are sharing online
- Discuss with your child how they operate their social networking, image or video sharing and instant messaging services.
Children in this age group are more likely to be sharing and receiving content, and may make quick or impulsive decisions online without thinking about their actions.
Being ‘Share A.W.A.R.E’ can help your child apply critical thinking skills before sharing any type of content that might be inappropriate, illegal or even participating in image-based abuse.
You should encourage your child to think about the pros and cons of sharing something, particularly if it’s going to affect them, or someone else.
Engaging in non-consensual image sharing, or image-based abuse, and being part of the distribution of child sexual exploitation material also has serious legal implications.