Skip to main content
Digital Families

Digital Families

By Leonie Smith
A 30min weekly podcast hosted by Leonie Smith Digital Families Parent Coach, in conversation with parents, students, children, cyber safety experts, family councillors, child protection experts, wellbeing coaches, psychologists and more about maintaining a healthy and safe environment around digital technology in families.
Listen on
Where to listen
Apple Podcasts Logo

Apple Podcasts

Google Podcasts Logo

Google Podcasts

Overcast Logo


RadioPublic Logo


Spotify Logo


Screentime And Tracking Apps Ep 47
Excessive Screentime After Lockdown? Parental Control Tracking - Building Trust and Encouraging Free Play In this weeks "Digital Families" Podcast I speak with Sonia Livingstone a professor at the London School of Economics and Political Science, who is also the co-Author with Alicia Blum-Ross of the recently released book based on her research  "Parenting for a Digital Future: How Hopes and Fears About Technology Shape Children’s Lives". about parental controls, screentime vs free play and tracking. Recently there has been quite a bit of discussion about parental controls and apps that can track children. Now that our children are getting back to face to face and socialising, many parents are understandably using the available technology to track and surveil their kids online and offline behaviour. But when do parental controls and tracking become overbearing or an invasion of privacy, when should parents start to give the child more space and trust? Screentime vs Free Play Many of my clients are working with me on issues around winding back screentime and developing better habits around online devices. Some parents are reporting that their children seem to have lost the ability to entertain themselves off screens after so much screentime during Covid lockdowns. Sonia Livingstone and I discuss the issue of the importance of children having "Free Play" both on screens and off. How we can transition children from screens to healthy play that is so important for their development. Sonias Book Parenting For A Digital Future Is Available Here: Find out more about Leonie Smith at
May 12, 2022
“From High school Failure To Award Winning Author And Illustrator ” Ep 46
Josh Langley was told he would amount to nothing in life, having failed high school (twice) and being unemployed for several years, but that didn’t stop Josh from becoming a multi award-winning radio copywriter and award-winning children’s author.  Now his ground-breaking children’s books, programs and school talks on self-acceptance, resilience, understanding emotions and kindness, are helping thousands of kids make friends with themselves. In this latest episode of the Digital Families Podcast I talk with Author and public speaker Josh Langley about how digital technology can both hinder and help with children's development. Josh also talks about his love of books and how to get children away from the screens and back to books. Josh is a popular speaker at schools where he helps all children feel like they have a place in this world. He talks to them about "Being You is Enough" a book he wrote to his 8 year old self. It’s message of self-acceptance and love resonated with kids and parents around the world.  He went on to publish 9 books and in 2018 won the Australian Book Industry Awards Small Publishers’ Children’s Book of Year, for his second children’s book It’s Ok to Feel the Way You Do (Big Sky Publishing 2017). With social media impacting the well being of children as young as 8 years old, effecting their self image and contributing to feelings of anxiety and feeling "not enough" Josh and I got into the "weeds" of how to counteract many of the messages that children are getting today.
December 16, 2021
How An Abuse Survivor Turned Police Officer Is Helping Kids With Abuse Ep45
Kelly Humphries is a survivor of child sexual abuse, a law enforcement officer, ambassador, author, and advocate. In this podcast Kelly and I talk about her remarkable journey from abuse through sporting achievements to the police force to being an award winning decorated advocate for children who are at risk of abuse and Author. Not being able to report her abuser until she was 19 years of age, Kelly is trying to inspire children to speak up and to protect themselves from the clutches and cunning of abusers. I talk with Kelly about how abusers groom children online, what language do they use. How they connect with children and what can parents do to help them children be more open with them about being contacted by abusers and finally how to prevent such contact or deal with it. Kelly is an inspiration for so many I hope this podcast gives all parents and carers some important insights on how we can help keep all our children safe from abuse both online and off. Kelly has written an inspirational book about her experience called "Unscathed Beauty" You can find out more about Kelly Humphries Here and buy her book here.
December 09, 2021
Resilience Optimism Confidence with Claire Eaton - Author - Coach Ep 44
This weeks guest on "Digital Families" Podcast is Claire Eaton, a speaker, youth coach and author of four books for teens, “ROC and RISE” “You are awesome”, “Hello High School” and its companion Planner. In this weeks podcast we talk about Claires focus on helping children, particularly with the transition from primary to high school  with Resilience, Optimism, and Confidence. These are traits that we often hear about being necessary in our children, particularly when it comes to dealing with the online world. Whether its resilience to online bullying and misunderstandings, optimism, in regard to the way they choose what they take in online, not falling into a negative pessimistic algorithm on TikTok or Instagram. And confidence to make good choices and be self assured as they navigate their way through this world. Traits that might seem impossible in the covid, environmental hazardous world we live in. How do we help our children to develop these attitudes with all they are living through and exposed to online? Claire and I also talk about how overprotective parenting can lead to less resilience optimistic confident children and how we can help them turn it all around. I have a set of books to give away to one lucky listener that include "Roc And Rise" her book for teenagers to help them reach the Goals of ROC, "You Are Awesome" a collection of thoughts and memories celebrating YOU! for children to hear how others feel about them. "Hello High School" a helpful book for year 7 students that comes with a yearly Planner for the first year of school to help children sort out their thoughts during what can be a confusing adjustment to High School. Listen through the podcast to find out the code to quote in your contact with me, either via this website or a PM on my Facebook Page. Find out more about Claire Eaton and her fabulous books at
December 03, 2021
Kids Leaving Data Trails Online - Amy Jussel Ep 43
Amy Jussel is the founder of Shaping Youth  and author of The Secret of the Vanishing Bones: Tracking the Data Trail. Her new book, aimed at students K-5, is designed to instill critical thinking about media through storytelling, developing early skills that help kids navigate their digital exposure in fun, fresh ways. Media literacy education is more critical than ever with increased screen time due to the recent global pandemic and wide-ranging messages displayed across social media and other media platforms. In todays podcast Amy and Leonie talk about how children need to learn about their digital footprint online. How they can reveal private information about themselves and their friends online and how to be careful about what they share. We also talk about the nuances of the internet and how children find it hard to unwrap behaviour online due to the 2 dimensional aspect of screens. Amy offers parents some tips on how to better educate their children about their digital footprints and how to navigate the internet with more awareness. This important beautifully illustrated book can be purchased online at Amazon or all good bookstores.
September 10, 2021
"Tweens On Social Media With Training Wheels On" - Digii Social - Claire Orange Ep42
Claire is a passionate advocate for preventative measures in children’s mental health and digital wellbeing. In this episode Claire Orange and I discuss Tweens on social media and how her amazing app can help children get prepared for the real world of social media when they are ready. Good mental health is at the core of Claire Oranges motivation for developing Digii Social, she has seen and heard too many horrifying stories of children coming to harm on social media Claire Orange a clinical Psychologist has worked with children and their families in a variety of therapeutic roles and settings for 28 years. Most recently, she has co-written and published 16 award winning books on children’s mental health and has launched an EdTech startup called DiGii Social that is a world-first safe and educational children’s free social media platform to be used in schools for education. 
August 26, 2021
Online Game Scammers Targeting Children with Paul Litherland Ep 41
In this episode Paul Litherland and I talk about the very difficult issue of children being scammed via online game platforms where there is the risk for losing large amounts of money for families via the virtual currency available on games like Fortnite, Roblox, and Minecraft. For over a decade, as a former technology crime police officer and now under the banner of Surf Online Safe, Paul Litherland has dedicated himself to educating children, parents and teachers on the subject of Internet Awareness. As a parent himself, Paul adds that extra insight to his presentations as he is more that aware of the fear and apprehension parents have regarding the internet and the dangers that are out there. We also discuss "Sextortion" which is not just an issue for young people but people of all ages that fall into the trap of an online predator who blackmails them into sharing sexually explicit photos or video of themselves. It starts with an online friend requests and can end up with the victim at the mercy of an extortionist.
August 19, 2021
The NEW Teen Age with co-author Jo Lamble Clinical Psychologist Ep40
Jo Lamble is a Clinical Psychologist and along with her co Author Dr Ginni Mansberg they have written the ultimate handbook for parents on raising Tweens and Teens titled "The NEW Teen Age. In this Digital Families Podcast Jo Lamble and I chat about some of the issues that are covered in the book including Teenagers, sleep and devices, Sleepovers and mobile phone use - And using tracking apps/devices on your kids - Yes or No? What to do if you find out your child isn't where they are supposed to be? The book covers teen health issues, behaviour, and the influence of social media and gaming.  The NEW Teen Age is available from all good bookstores and online at Amazon and Booktopia.
July 12, 2021
Parent Cyber Safety App - The Beacon App Ep39
My guest today is Bec Nguyen from Perths “Telethon Kids Institute” Project Manager of the “Beacon App” A cyber safety educational app designed to keep parents and carers up to date with trusted, tailored information, to help keep their kids safe online. An Australian developed one stop shop for Cyber Safety. Find out how it works in todays Podcast! The FREE Beacon App Telethon Kids Institute
July 05, 2021
Porn Is Changing Our Kids! - Melinda Tankard Reist Ep38
My guest today is Melinda Tankard Reist, Melinda is an author, speaker, media commentator, and advocate for young people. She is best known for her work addressing sexualisation, objectification, harms of pornography, sexual exploitation, trafficking and violence against women. Melinda is author/editor of six books including Getting Real: Challenging the Sexualisation of Girls and Big Porn Inc: Exposing the harms of the global pornography industry . Melinda has appeared on ABC’s Q&A and The Gruen Sessions and many other TV and radio programs. Melinda is co-founder of the grassroots campaigning movement, Collective Shout: for a world free of sexploitation. In this podcast Melinda and I discuss the influence of porn on our young people. How porn is changing their culture and their understanding of their own sexuality. We also talk about the sexualisation of children via the clothing that is marketed to them and how social media is creating a generation of children who have unrealistic body image based on influencers and social media filters. See more about Melinda Tankard Reist Here and here
June 11, 2021
Do You Know What Kids Help Line Actually Do? Tony Fitzgerald Ep37
Kids Help Line "Every 69 seconds a young person contacts Kids Helpline" What are they calling about? What happens during a call? What happens next? My guest today is Tony Fitzgerald from YourTown who operates the “Kids Help Line”, Kids Helpline is Australia’s only 24/7 telephone and online counselling service for children and young people aged 5 to 25. In 2021 the service celebrated it’s 30th year of operation. Tony FitzGerald manages yourtown’s Virtual Services (which includes Kids Helpline, Kids Helpline @ School and Parentline) and has the privilege of leading a team of over 230 staff who each day support children, young people and their parents across a range of issues including mental health, suicide and self harm, child abuse and neglect, family relationships and online safety including cyberbullying and image based abuse.  Follow Kids Help Line Here On Facebook:
May 28, 2021
Addicted To Gaming? "The Unplugged Psychologist" Brad Marshall Ep36
In this Digital Families podcast Brad Marshall "The Unplugged Psychologist" and Leonie Smith "The Cyber Safety Lady" chat about the signs and symptoms of Problematic Internet Use, what sort of treatment is available, and what to do if your child isn't necessary "addicted" but you can't get them off their device. We also discuss some practical every day solutions that parents can use to help their child have a healthy relationship with their digital devices, when to get help, and advice on teens gaming and device use when studying? For listeners of the podcast Brad has provided an exclusive discount code for Brad’s new parent tutorial video series it gets you 30% off, listen to the podcast to hear the code. Follow Brad on Facebook Here: Learn more about Brad Marshall "The Unplugged Psychologist" Here:
May 19, 2021
Generation Alpha - Screen Tweens - What does their future hold? Futurist Mark McCrindle Ep35
In this podcast I chat with Mark McCrindle from McCrindle Research who is a social researcher and futurist. He is internationally recognised as a leader in tracking emerging issues and researching social trends. He coined the term 'Generation Alpha' children born after 2010 who are now 10 years of age and younger. Mark McCrindle is an award- winning social researcher. We talk about how screen technology is effecting this generations maturity, and creativity. Mark talks about what sort of jobs and lifestyle this generation can look forward to. We also discuss the positive future these children may have with emerging technology, and what kind of parents they will be? More about Mark and his work here:
May 06, 2021
Maggie Dent "From Boys to Men" Confidence, Gaming, Consent & Health Ep34
Commonly known as the ‘queen of common sense’, Maggie Dent has become one of Australia's favourite parenting authors and educators. She has a particular interest in the early years, adolescence and resilience, and is an undisputed 'boy champion'. Maggie is the author of seven major books, including the bestselling 2018 release Mothering Our Boys and her 2020 release From Boys to Men. She hosts the ABC podcast, Parental As Anything. Maggie is a dedicated advocate to quietly changing lives in our families and communities. She is the mother of four sons and a very grateful grandmother. In this podcast Leonie and Maggie chat about raising our boys to be good men. We also talk about how boys are being too contained in our modern world they need more freedom and realistic learning environments that involve physicality. We also chat about boys and screens. If you have a son that seems as if he cannot leave his screen this is for you. What can you do if dragging your son away from that video game seems like pulling teeth. Will he ever find life away from his device? We also discuss consent, porn and boys, what can we as parents do to ensure our boys not only understand consent but respect girls and women enough to really ensure they have consent? If any of these issues mentioned have raised any concerns, you can contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636, Lifeline on 13 11 14 or the Kids Help Line - Parentline on 1300 1300 52 Find out more about Maggie here:​
April 30, 2021
"Ten Ager" Girls Growing Up Too Soon - Madonna King Author Ep33
Leonie Smith with Madonna King Author of "Ten Ager" What your daughter needs you to know about the transition from child to teen.  With heightened pressure from what they see in the media, in movies and on TV, our girls are leaving childhood behind well before they hit their teens. Not surprisingly, emotions can be heightened and relationships can be fraught. So many parents struggle to understand the pressures our girls are under and how to deal with their emotional volatility. Journalist and social commentator Madonna King has an extraordinary ability to connect with experts, schools and the girls themselves to deliver the answers parents need and the communication our girls want. TEN-AGER is the perfect guide to help parents understand how their daughter is feeling, what they need to know, what to say, and when to stay silent and listen. Buy Madonna's book here:
April 20, 2021
Puberty & Peer Group Pressure - Michelle Mitchell Ep32
My guest today is someone I’ve had on Digital Families twice before. Author and Teen Expert Michelle Mitchell has such an amazing insight into parenting, that I’m constantly recommending her to parents who need good straight talking advice about their children’s issues.  Michelle is an author, speaker and advocate for families and parenting teenagers. Her 2 new books, “A Girls Guide To Puberty”, and “A Guys Guide to Puberty” are funny, insightful and detailed instruction books for tweens and teens going through all the physical and mental changes that can start around age 10.  In todays podcast Michelle and I discuss what it is like for children going through puberty today with the impact of the digital world on their development. With so many tweens now joining up to social media like Snapchat and Instagram and TikTok, where are they getting their information on development and sexuality, and how is it effecting their adjustment to puberty.   We also discuss peer group pressure around social media apps and what parents can do to try to deal with the fears of feeling left out if children are too young to join. See more about Michelle Mitchell Here! Buy these books Here:
April 01, 2021
"Parenting For A Digital Future" with Researcher Sonia Livingstone Ep31
Many parents are really struggling to help and supervise their children's online world and learning. Why are parents being blamed and marginalised for "Bad Digital Parenting" Is this fair?  In her latest research and book "Parenting For A Digital Future" Professor Sandra Livingstone asked parents from all sorts of backgrounds about what their hopes were for their children in regard to a digital future. She and her colleague Alicia Blum-Ross found that many parents were really struggling to manage digital technology, and were sadly left out of a lot of initiatives and conversations around their own children's online education. In this podcast Sonia and I discuss some of her findings and discuss possible solutions to help parents find the task of digital parenting easier and more equitable.
December 11, 2020
"Stopping Family Fights Over Digital Devices" with Mediator Fred Bretthauer Ep30
My guest today is Fred Bretthauer. Fred is a senior Family Dispute Mediator with Catholic Care and a committee member of the Family Law Pathways Network in Sydney. He has been resolving family separation disputes for over 10 years, he also runs education seminars for parents who are experiencing ongoing conflict. Family disputes involving the digital world have also been starting to impact the work that he does. During this podcast Fred and I talk about how families can have less drama around digital device use, about parents as mentors and negotiating use of technology with better safer outcomes. 
November 27, 2020
Smart Toys & Speakers. Privacy risk or great Christmas Gift idea? Samantha Floreani Ep29
With Christmas almost upon us, many parents are looking into buying their little one a new smart toy, watch or device.  But how do we choose a safe digital toy for our children, what do we need to consider with safety and in particular what about privacy? We know that Tech companies use our data to market to us, this includes where we live, how old we are, location data showing the trips we take each day, and generally where we go online. But children are supposed to be exempt from that data scraping aren’t they? Also how secure are these devices from hackers and spys or over reaching marketing companies? Samantha Floreani is a Privacy & Technology Specialist at Salinger Privacy, Samantha also sits on the Board of the Australian Privacy Foundation. In todays Digital Families Podcast Samantha lays out her top tips for parents to consider when buying a smart device or toy for their child. 
November 18, 2020
"Cybertrauma" "Life After An Online Attack" Catherine Knibbs Ep28
My guest on the Digital Families Podcast today is Catherine Knibbs Catherine is a Clinical Doctorial Researcher, Consultant, Public Speaker, Author and Child & Adult Trauma Psychotherapist. She writes about and works with “Cybertrauma” which is any trauma that occurs through an internet ready device. Catherine is undoubtably one of the most experienced and informed therapists and academics in the field of psychology around online exposure to traumatic online events. Including shared live videos of self harm or violence to others. Catherine gives her tips for parents and authorities on steps to take when traumatic content is being shared online, to prevent it from being shared further, or searched for when warnings to parents and educators are issued. Find out more about Catherine Knibbs Here:
November 09, 2020
Dealing With Online Conspiracies & Hoaxes - Dr Diana Bossio - Ep27
In the age of digital misinformation and hoaxes being shared prolifically online we are now at a point that we are now having protests on the streets from folks who believe that Covid19 is a hoax and Bill Gates is going to insert a microchip in our veins through a Covid19 vaccination, and flat earthers seem to be gaining voice online. In todays podcast I chat with Dr Diana Bossio Senior lecturer and researcher in Media and Communication at Swinburne University of Technology, about where these hoaxes and falsehoods come from, who's pushing them and why? How can we as ordinary users of the internet and social media discern the real from the fake? Last years Momo challenge hoax, the blue whale hoax and others like it are spreading on the apps our children are using like TikTok Instagram and Snapchat. How can we as parents help our children to be more discerning and help them with their fears?
November 03, 2020
Predators Online - Protection & Empowering Children - Kayelene Kerr eSafeKids Ep26
Kayelene Kerr from eSafeKids is recognised as one of Western Australia’s most experienced specialist providers of Body Safety, Cyber Safety, Digital Wellness and Pornography education workshops. In todays podcast Kayelene and myself talk about "Online Child Abuse" How can we tackle this insidious and horrific crime as a community. "Self produced child abuse" is an overwhelming problem for law enforcement which has escalated during Covid19, with more and more children being blackmailed or co-erced to share child abuse material to paedophiles through online channels. What can we, as parents do to protect our children whilst they are online, as well as help our children to recognise when they are in danger? What are the signs that your child is being groomed? What games and platforms are paedophiles using to contact children? And what is law enforcement doing about this? See more about Kayelene Here: 
October 27, 2020
"Growing Up Shared" "Sharenting" with Professor Stacey Steinberg Ep25
In this weeks podcast Professor Steinberg and I discuss parental sharing of children's data online. This is often referred to as "Sharenting" In todays era of the pandemic, its never been more important to keep in touch over the internet. But how much and how should we share whilst respecting our children rights to their own data, privacy and safety? We discuss all of this both the positives of sharing online and the dangers, with solutions for making safer decisions that won't put your child in danger of having their data used for ill intent, and won't lead you to have a teen down the track who wants or needs you to do a massive clean up of their digital childhood. See more here: Buy Professor Steinbergs book here: growingupshared
October 06, 2020
"Learning Online Safely In Lockdown" - Martin and Carley McGauran eSafety Educators Ep24
School teacher Martin McGauran and his sister psychologist Carley McGauran are the founders of Inform & Empower Cyber Safety Education. Together they inform and empower students, teachers and parents to thrive in an online world. In this weeks podcast we talk to Carley and Martin about the role of technology in schools during Covid19. How technology could be used in more advantageous ways moving on from lockdown now that the expertise in remote and connected learning has been accelerated. We also discuss how parents are coping with the transition to online learning and back. What will happen next year? We also discuss the difficulties of parents staying informed about their children’s digital lives and how we might be better at engaging parents to help them stay up to date. Find out more about Inform and Empower https://www.informand
September 29, 2020
"Predators Online Grooming Your Kids" - Brett Lee Former Undercover Cyber Detective Ep23
My guest this week on the Digital Families podcast is former detective Brett Lee who worked as a Queensland Police Officer for 22 years, 16 of which as a detective in the field of Child Exploitation. Brett has been personally involved with the interview, location, arrest and prosecution of hundreds of online criminals and predators. In this podcast Brett advises parents how to help their child be protected from predatory behaviour online. He talks about the platforms that predators frequent, to groom children, like TikTok, Instagram, Omegle, and via online games like Roblox and Minecraft.  Brett gives very practical advise to help parents educate their children on the safe use of the internet, and helps parents to recognise when their child maybe being groomed by an online predator.  Report any illegal online behaviour to your local police or to Brett Lee's Website has resources and links to his Book "Screen Resolution"
September 22, 2020
What Happens When You Meet Your Online Abuser? Ginger Gorman Author "Troll Hunting" Ep22
In today's Digital Families podcast I talk with Award Winning Journalist Author and Mentor Ginger Gorman about who these Trolls are, how to protect our families from this type of abuse, and why there is an escalation of online abuse and trolling during this time of Covid19 We also chat about why trolls want to hurt children by sharing frightening violent videos online targeted to children on YouTube and TikTok. More about the podcast here:
September 14, 2020
"Sleepovers & Mobile Phones" - Dr Kristy Goodwin Ep21
Are we in control of technology, or is technology controlling us? This weeks podcast with Dr Kristy Goodwin we chat about Screentime, what do the experts mean when they say we need to focus more on content than on clock watching? What if your child seems to be on screens a LOT?  What about toddlers advice for games or apps for younger children?  Sleepovers and tech use.  We also talk about Digital distractions, how all of us are effected by the digital distractions of our devices. Multi tasking isn't working... Dr Kristy Goodwin was formerly a lecturer & Honorary Associate at Macquarie University at the Institute of Early Childhood and has lectured at Notre Dame University. She worked as a primary school and early childhood teacher for fourteen years in a range of educational settings in Australia and Asia. In 2004 Kristy was awarded a NSW Quality Teaching Award and in 2007 was awarded an Australian Postgraduate Scholarship for her doctoral studies at Macquarie University where she completed a PhD on the impact of digital technologies on children’s learning. Kristy has also written a book, Raising Your Child in a Digital World. Games Kristy mentions in the podcast via  TocaBoca Duck Duck Moose Nosy Crow See more about this podcast Here:
September 07, 2020
"Mentoring Rather Then Monitoring Online" Dr Devorah Heitner Author of "Screenwise" Ep20
My guest today on Digital Families is Dr Devorah Heitner PhD who is is the author of  the book “Screenwise: Helping Kids Thrive (and Survive) in Their Digital World” . Dr Heitner has a Ph.D. in Media/Technology and Society from Northwestern University, and is also the founder of ‘Raising Digital Natives” During this podcast I chat with Devorah about how parents can be their child's mentor rather than monitor. We talk about allowing our children to have a smart phone, what age should children be? We also discuss how to manage screen time especially during this time of Covid19 when the screen maybe the only outlet for your child socially. We also talk about differences in parenting styles around digital devices..."Am I too strict?" or "Am I too soft?" "Why aren't other parents paying attention to the digital technology their child uses...?" Find out more about Devorah Here:
August 25, 2020
"Kids Hiding Cyber Bullying" Rachael Downie from "Stymie" Ep19
My guest today is Rachel Downie owner of the platform Stymie, and 2020 Queensland Australian of the year. Rachel founded an amazing platform called Stymie that helps young people to report dangerous or upsetting behaviour safely. Stymie helps students report cyberbullying, self harm, grooming or any danger to themselves or others. Only 55% of young people between 8 and 18 are reporting upsetting behaviour they see online to an adult according to a recent survey from the eSafety Commissioner. We discuss the reasons this is happening and what schools and parents can do to give young people a safe place to confide. 
August 17, 2020
"Kids Sexting & Cyber Bullying Is Increasing" Michelle Mitchell Teen Expert - Ep18
Sexting & Cyber Bullying Reports Are Increasing,  What are we doing wrong? My guest this week on "Digital Families" is Michelle Mitchell an expert on Teens and Tweens. I asked her to talk with me about this issue, and discuss why these abuses are escalating, and what we need to do to try and turn the digital tide. With the rise of reports of these types of abuses comes also the rise in trauma which is of course exacerbated during this stressful time of Covid19 and all it entails. Supporting our young people is key. Michelle outlines tips for parents on changing the messaging around online abuse and sexting. More Here: Michelle Mitchell Website
August 07, 2020
"Online Abuse Up By 300%" Getting Help with eSafety's Greg Gebhart Ep17
This weeks podcast I chat with eSafety trainer Greg Gebhart from Australia's Office Of The eSafety Commissioner. The eSafety Commissioner has posted recently that reports of online abuse have escalated during Covid19 by over 300%. I'm also getting more reports from parents about issues, such as children being targeted by predators, cyber bullies and reports of image based abuse. What happens at the eSafety commissioners office when a report of abuse comes in? How is it handled? and what sort of issues are they largely dealing with now?
July 30, 2020
"Families Gaming Together Stay Together" with Tech Journalist Alex Kidman Ep16
This weeks guest on Digital Families is Alex Kidman an Australian freelance technology journalist and co-host of Vertical Hold: Behind The Tech News, a weekly technology podcast with Adam Turner. Alex also writes about video games for various publications, and today I’m going to be asking his advice on behalf of parents about family video gaming. Many parents think video gaming or eGaming as its often called is a complete waste of time…and sometimes it may be just entertainment which is fine of course. But gaming can also be a great way for families to have fun together. In this episode, Alex and I discuss the types of games parents might want to try out with their family and how to manage gaming in the family environment particularly in light of the amount of time all of us are now inside. We talk about the benefits of gaming and some very practical aspects of keeping things balanced as well. Also the costs, how to avoid getting stung with in-app purchases, and keeping your child safe whilst playing online games like Fortnite or Roblox. Find the links to the games we discuss Here:
July 16, 2020
"Children Addicted To Porn" New Zealand Documentary Makers Rob Cope & Zareen Sheikh-Cope Ep15
In todays podcast I chat with co-creaters of  "Our Kids Online" Porn, Predators & How To Keep Them Safe The Documentary Rob Cope and Zareen Sheikh-Cope.   Parents of four children between them, aged nine to fifteen they went looking for ways to keep their children safer online, and stumbled across some shocking discoveries, in particular, around children's exposure to online pornography and predators. This video is one of the best examples of trying to help us understand the effects of porn on young minds. It's relatable and gives actual resources and help to parents.   "While researching the pros and cons of handheld devices of our kids, and how to keep them safe online, we stumbled upon the biggest un-had conversation of our time." - Zareen Sheikh-Cope   We talk about their personal journey from ordinary parents with a basic understanding of the online world, who during their research and journey through this documentary find out how easy it is for children to access porn at home on devices, and what the devastating effects of early exposure to porn can be.   You can watch the full documentary here  Find out more about "Our Kids Online" Here:
July 09, 2020
"Helping Kids With Screen Addiction & Anxiety" Dr Danielle Einstein Ep14
In this podcast Dr Danielle Einstein, explains how the recent pandemic has impacted our children's mental health. We also talk about how the use of screens has effected young peoples social skills and learning in schools. Danielle explains how the design of devices gives us rewards that increase our reliance and can lead to possible addiction to screens. Danielle also advises what parents can do to help families get back on board with together time, off screen and back to having fun as a family.  Dr Danielle Einstein is a Clinical Psychologist specialising in the treatment and prevention of anxiety, depression and OCD. Danielle was Head of the Anxiety Clinic at Westmead Hospital from 1996 to 2002, and has run her own private practice since 2003. She has edited a text book on CBT, taught ACT to masters students at Macquarie University, and worked as a postdoctoral fellow. Danielle leads research with schools across Australia to evaluate the impact of the programs on wellbeing. The latest program is being run in Australia, Hong Kong and the UK to educate the community on the psychological factors which undermine mental health in the wake of COVID 19. One student at the Kings school has commented on how useful these learning’s are and how he uses the tools within the program to stop worrying and calm himself both during the school day and at night when he goes to sleep.  Twitter Facebook - Instagram -
June 18, 2020
"Seniors Being Left Behind & At Risk Online" ASCCA Founder Nan Bosler Ep13
My guest today is Nan Bosler. Nan Bosler AM is an Australian community activist and advocate for young people, the elderly and people with disabilities. She is an author and most notable internationally, for her involvement with computer clubs and digital skills for older people. Along with many other awards she has received over the years, in 2019 Nan was awarded an (AM) of the Order of Australia for significant service to seniors and to the community.  In 1997 Nan founded the Australia Seniors Computer Clubs Association (ASCCA). She has represented ASCCA nationally and internationally and has been a member of the Cyber Security Awareness Week Committee, Broadband for Seniors Kiosk Consortium, Ambassador for Seniors Week (2013-2015), a member of the New South Wales Carers Advisory Council (2010-2014) and a National Cyber Security Awareness Ambassador, 2013. On todays podcast Nan and I chat about how seniors are doing online? During this pandemic, what are the clear disadvantages and advantages that our seniors are experiencing online and how are they coping with shopping, banking, communication and keeping in touch while they are apart from loved ones. 
June 13, 2020
"What If Your Child Sees Porn?" Liz Walker - Youth Wellbeing Project Ep12
Liz Walker is an sexuality educator, speaker and author.  Liz provides schools and community education as Managing Director of Youth Wellbeing Project, facilitates parent education in her role as Director of Health Education at Culture Reframed, and has also collaborated with progressing Age Verification to protect children from porn in Australia. In this podcast we talk about why restricting children's access to pornography via age verification gateways hasn't happened yet. Liz explains about the harm that explicit and often violent pornography is having on young people. We also discuss how parents can help their children deal with pornography, which they will eventually see sooner rather than later. And importantly what steps can parents take when they discover their child has had access to porn. This is a very important conversation and that helps parents understand how to prepare their families for exposure to porn.
June 04, 2020
"Dealing With Cyber Bullies" Rosie Thomas - Project Rockit Ep11
Today I chat with Rosie Thomas from Project Rockit about bullying, especially cyber bullying amongst young people, why it is happening and we can do to try and prevent it and help mitigate the behaviour.  Also, what are the key steps parents need to take if they find out their child is displaying bullying type behaviour, or if their child is being bullied? How do you help your child navigate tricky relationships or negative behaviour towards them so that they build a great set of skills and resilience to all life may throw at them. 
May 28, 2020
"Has Your Business Just Been Hacked?" Online Security Solutions For Small Business - Jacqui Loustau from Cynch Ep10
New Digital Families Podcast with Jacqui Loustau from Cynch Small Business Security. We chat about what families need to put in place to ensure that if you are running a business from home, or working remotely, your family and your buisness will be secure online. Are you noticing more spam in your inbox? Are you aware of the latest scams to either disable your computer or steal money from your company. I put Jacqui from Cynch through a set of questions that I often hear from folks working from home at the moment. No question to dumb!!! Do you have the right equipment like your router/modem computer antivirus right now to stay secure? Should your phone have antivirus software? What happens if you do get targeted? Where to go for help? And more.  Share with other remote family members! and for remote workers
May 21, 2020
Lockdown & Online - Increase in online harms with Collett Smart, Jenny Hoey, Caitlin Lamour, Leonie Smith Ep9
Guests of the podcast today are Collette Smart psychologist, qualified teacher, speaker and internationally published author, Tricia Munn a Cyber Safety expert from Eyes Open Social Media Safety, Jenny Hoey “mum of 3 and Parent Awareness Advocate at Porn Resilient Kids, an initiative of Youth Wellbeing Project” and Caitlin Lamour ICT Integrator at St Catherines School and Caitlin Lamour ICT Integrator Twitter @caitlinlamour at St Catherines School Sydney. Todays podcast we talk about the increase of Cyber Bullying and children being exposed to dangerous media like porn during Covid19. The office of the eSafety commissioner has reported a steep increase in reports of cyber bullying, extortion and image based abuse since lockdown. “The number of people reporting behaviour such as cyberbullying, image-based abuse and sex-based extortion has more than tripled since coronavirus restrictions took effect, according to the eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant.” We also discuss the future of technology and schools after Covid19 What influences might the lock down have on technology in education? What worked what didn’t and will parents find it difficult to pull back from being involved in their child’s learning in order to allow schools to do their jobs? How are HSC students coping with this new way of learning and a more uncertain future?
May 14, 2020
Dealing With Techno Tantrums - "The Modern Parent" Martine Oglethorpe Ep8
My guest today is Martine Oglethorpe from "The Modern Parent". Martine is a mother to five boys with a background in secondary education and a Masters in Counselling. Through her personal and professional work with families raising children, she recognises the important role technology plays in the lives of young people today and thus the role we can play in not only their safety but their social and emotional wellbeing. In todays podcast Martine and I talked about what parents can do when they feel overwhelmed by screen time and tech in their home. If you have a child that throws a wobbly every time you try to get them to do something else other than using a screen, Martine has some very helpful tips. Martine and I also talk about how to develop positive relationships with the screens in your home, particularly during this intense time.  Martine also is an Author of several books, her latest is titled "The Modern Parent" Found here for sale in hard copy or eBook Find out more about Martine Here 
May 07, 2020
"School Photo Sharenting" Online Privacy with Tricia Munn - Eyes Open Social Media Safety Ep7
In todays Vodcast/podcast Tricia Munn from "Eyes Open Social Media Safety" and I chat about how to keep your children safe from online predators, how "sharenting" where parents share news and photos about their children online can be done with more consideration to safety. Why is it that social media safety advocates keep banging on about protecting your child's personal information and even photos online? We talk about why learning about the privacy settings on platforms are so important, and what can happen if you don't set those settings to most secure. Live streaming is the BIG issue of the moment according to Trish, and we talk about how you as a parent can be more aware of what your child is doing online, especially now with Covid19 and the difficulties with us all being online more often.  Find out more about Tricia and Eyes Open Social Media Safety Here!
May 01, 2020
"Teachers Transitioning To Online Learning" with Kim Maslin ICT Educator Ep6
Kim Maslin is a passionate educator and author currently living in Esperance, Western Australia. Her background is in ICT, and has taught learners aged 5 to 85-year-olds how to use digital technologies. She has worked as a specialist Science & Technologies teacher. Kim also runs her own Digital Technologies Education Business, providing digital marketing workshops and consultancy, plus graphic and web design services.  In this Vod/Podcast I talk to Kim about how this pandemic is effecting teachers and learning remotely. Kim discusses the sorts of issues she is seeing in schools as they learn how to use new technology to teach students, in ways that they never envisioned they would have to learn. We discuss how important it is for parents to also understand the difficulties from educational staff. 
April 27, 2020
"Keeping Your Kids Onside & Online" - Kayelene Kerr eSafe Kids Ep5
Kayelene Kerr draws on over 23 years’ experience of study and law enforcement investigating sexual crimes, including technology facilitated crimes, to deliver quality, sought after education programs. Kayelene is recognised as one of Western Australia’s most experienced specialist providers of Cyber Safety, Digital Wellness and Pornography education workshops. In this Podcast Kayelene Kerr and I chat about how parents can identify when their child might be upset about something online, how to help your child open up about anything that bothers them online. We chat about how children might learn about balancing their time on screens, and how they might filter what they see online to protect their mental health during this pandemic, where they are possibly exposed to some very frightening imagery. We also talk about how parents can be part of their Childs online world in fun ways! Some great tips and advice here from Kaylene. New Contact Details as of 02/10/2020 Kayelene Kerr Dip(PublicSaf), AdvDip(PublicSaf), BA(Just) Body Safety, Cyber Safety, Digital Wellness and Pornography Education Specialist
April 24, 2020
"What's That Mummy??" Protection From The Online Nasties Jordan Foster - YSafe Ep4
Jordan Forster is a Clinical Psychologist from Perth Australia and the founder of ySafe, a now nationally-adopted household name in the field of cyber safety.  Jordan has extensive clinical expertise in working with children and adolescents managing problematic technology use, including cyber bullying, image-based abuse and compulsive gaming.  During this chat we talk about what parents can do to create a safe place for children to report anything that they might find upsetting or challenging online. We talk about how to decide on safe apps for kids and much more and what to do if if your child does see something awful online!
April 16, 2020
"How To Start Tricky Conversations About Online Porn With Your Kids" Holly-ann Martin - Safe4Kids Ep3
Holly ann Martin along with her husband Roger run The Safe4Kids Child Abuse Prevention Education Program. For this podcast/vodcast I chat to Holly ann, about ways parents can talk to their children about the icky subjects like strangers, seeing upsetting content like pornography online and body protection. We also talk about the signs to teach our children to look out for, for "tricky" strangers online.  Holly takes us through some great easy ways for children to build a safe network around themselves and demonstrates how she teaches children to use find a trusted support group to help them when they need it wherever they are. She also talks about how to encourage children to come to us when they are afraid of something, or have made a mistake and they need us. Safe disclosure.  You can find out more about Holly ann at She has a lot of resources for parents and schools on her website including picture books that parents can use to help teach their children about safety using appropriate language and messages. Find her bookshop here
April 09, 2020
"Working From Home & Home Schooling" Michelle Mitchell Author Ep2
In this episode Michelle Mitchell and I chat about wellbeing in the era of Covid19. Teens and Tweens are being exposed to scary content online, parents new responsibilities in the home with caring for children, particularly with home distance learning and soon with holidays and bored kids stuck inside.  Michelle gives some great tips on connecting with your children and helping them with their fears, and also for parents also looking after themselves during this stressful time. Find out more about Michelle Mitchell Here. "They aren’t just any tween or teen. They are yours. And that makes them the most important child in the world".
April 02, 2020
"Distance Learning Hardships" School & Uni with Collett Smart Psychologist Ep1
Collett Smart is a family Psychologist, a teacher/lecturer and Author of They’ll Be Okay’ 15 Conversations to Help Your Child Through troubled Times (Hachette) Collett and Leonie discuss the issues around home schooling and technology in the age of COVID-19. Distance learning and the traps for families using tech more now than ever.  After coming straight from a lecture, Collett also talks about how Universities are also handling distance learning with all the new challenges. We also discuss the digital divide with different families both rural and city families struggles to able to access distance learning and support with the devices and services available. 
March 27, 2020