STAY SAFE: eSafety speaker Rachel Downie, spoke to parents about cyber safety at Hervey Bay RSL.
STAY SAFE: eSafety speaker Rachel Downie, spoke to parents about cyber safety at Hervey Bay RSL. Alistair Brightman

FIND OUT: How parents can keep children safe online

WHEN it comes to protecting children from cyber predators, parents are lagging behind.

Rachel Downie, an eSafety speaker who spoke at two cyber safety information sessions at Hervey Bay RSL yesterday, said parents needed to provide more constant supervision if they allowed their children to have online devices.

She warned that those looking to connect with children online would stop at nothing.

"They're experts, they know exactly how to do this stuff," Ms Downie said.

"They will do anything for a sniff, a glimpse, a word with your child."

Kids don't just need protecting from those who would harm them online though, she said.

They also needed protection from themselves.

Yesterday she warned those gathered at the information session that children could be charged for criminal behaviour from the age of 10.

That included making threats or sending explicit photos online.

Ms Downie said if there was a law that all phones had to be handed to parents by 8pm, the world would be vastly different.

"There is a lack of family supervision," she said.

She said the vast majority of children were using screens to be entertained, not for learning activities.

Ms Downie said bullying or negative interactions online could impact on a child's mental health and could have a negative impact on their learning.

"We need parents to step up," she said, adding that resources were available for those who didn't know where to start.

"We can help you do it."

For those concerned about privacy for their children, Ms Downie said transparency and honesty needed to come first.