Government agencies have launched a $1.5 million campaign to help parents keep their children safe online in the Covid-19 world.

The six-week advertising campaign, which kicks off this week, follows a doubling of traffic to Netsafe's website during the lockdown due to parents worried about what their children were doing online.

The Film Censor's office, NZ Police, Internal Affairs, Ministry of Education and Network for Learning have collaborated with Netsafe to bring advice together on a new site,

The site includes everything from the censor's advice on how to manage what kids watch on Netflix to Netsafe advice on dealing with online bullying.


Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker said the biggest single issue that parents wanted advice on during the lockdown was simply managing the amount of time their children spent online.

"During the lockdown period traffic to our website more than doubled, almost tripled," he said.

Martin Cocker says traffic to the Netsafe website more than doubled during the lockdown. Photo / File
Martin Cocker says traffic to the Netsafe website more than doubled during the lockdown. Photo / File

"I think that period when young people were learning at home and parents were working at home really drove a lot of parents to be more interested in what's going on with their children's lives online.

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"The biggest issue was what is commonly referred to as screen time. Parents were concerned about just how much their young people were on their devices - and had to be."

Netsafe doesn't lay down any precise rules on suitable screen time, but suggests parents should watch for signs of excessive use such as effects on children's sleep, behaviour or the quality of their schoolwork.

"A change in behaviour may also be clues to other issues such as cyberbullying or grooming, so it pays to ensure your children feel they can share problems with you," it says.

"Assure them that can talk to you about any problems they come across online, and that you won't take their device away if they ask you for help."

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