As our world becomes increasingly connected through mobile devices, children are becoming more vulnerable to cyberbullying and online abuse, and police are calling on parents to take more responsibility for their children's social media use.

Whangarei police campus cop Senior Constable Hank Van Engelen said social media was a big part of the problem.

"Parents and caregivers need to give their children guidance around the use of social media on their phones and other electronic devices."

Just as it was important to know where your child was going and who they were with, Mr Van Engelen said parents needed to keep track of their kids' social media activity.


"They need to have access to their children's accounts, so they can see who they are talking to and what is being said."

Information sessions run by school community officers are aimed at educating young people affected by cyberbullying, as well as those wanting to know how to help others through it.

One of the more important aspects of the sessions, alongside support, is to teach the kids and their parents how to protect their personal information online.

"If you suspect your child is being cyberbullied get them to block the sender and seek advice on how to support your child," Mr Van Engelen said.

Mr Van Engelen said NetSafe was a reliable source for advice and support relating to cyberbullying. Its website says it is "at the forefront of online safety practice", and Mr Van Engelen recommended it for any queries parents or children might have.

• For more information go to