ONE of Australia's leading cyber safety experts is pleading with parents to take responsibility for their children's online behavior.
Former Victoria Police member and cyber safety presenter Susan McLean says parents need to stop trying to be their child's best friend and, instead, start ensuring they are responsible digital citizens.
Her number one tip is talk openly with your children.
"Cyber bullying is happening in your community," she said.
"It is happening in your school.
"If it's not involving your children, it's involving children that your children know.
"You've got to be able to talk about it.
"Burying your head in the sand doesn't help."
Ms McLean said it was important to discuss issues including online bullying, sexting, sexual predators and responsible behaviour.
"It is embarrassing, it is awkward but you've got to talk to your children about all the different things that happen online," she said.
"Make sure that your kids will come to you no matter what.
"Because if your kids won't come to you you're not going to be able to help them.
"And if there's an age restriction on the site, don't disobey it, it's there for a reason.
"You're setting a very poor example to your children by allowing them to use these sites when they shouldn't."
Ms McLean was in Bendigo on Wednesday for a presentation to Year Seven students at Bendigo South East College.
"The theme of my presentation is respect and responsibility," she said.
"So having respect for yourself and others and using technology responsibility.
"It's not about demonising technology, it's not about bagging Facebook or anything like that, but rather about using it correctly.
"I talk about a whole lot of different things including cyber bullying, digital reputation, and sexting - sending the naked photos."