Make smart, safe and secure tech gift buys this holiday season

Every year, the eSafety Commissioner publishes a Gift Guide to support parents and carers with insights and advice on the latest trends and technology. The guide helps you make smart, safe and secure tech gift choices for children and young people.

Date 2022-12-14 Author Office of the eSafety Commissioner Section awareness, positive-content Topic gaming, media literacy/education, potentially harmful content Audience media specialist, parents and carers
Drawing of a set of colourful presents

This year’s guide focuses on new immersive technology and the practical things we can do to minimise harm to the excited young recipients of tech gifts.

Smart toys use artificial intelligence to create interactive play. Immersive technologies take this experience to another level with augmented reality, virtual reality, mixed reality and wearables or haptics that stimulate our sense of touch. It can all help children learn, play and be creative, but how well do these modern technologies protect children, and what should you know before buying?

Immersive technologies already enable social interactions – like gaming with others – and allow us to do things like attend concerts or visit different places such as museums or world heritage sites, all recreated virtually. However, as with all types of digital technology, they can be used for harms such as cyberbullying, and even simulated assaults or violence can have real physical and mental impacts. 

What to look out for?

The eSafety gift guide offers advice on what to consider when giving children and young people technologies that take them into immersive worlds, including whether a device is age appropriate and what parental controls are available. Some elements parents and carers should look out for are the following:

  • Is it age appropriate?
  • Is it widely accessible?
  • Is it able to be used in a safe space?
  • What privacy settings are available?
  • What communication is available?
  • What data is collected?
  • Are there virtual safety zones? 
  • What safety features are available?

How to stay safe

  • Understand the world your child is entering.
  • Set up the parental controls.
  • Supervise use.
  • Protect your child's identity.
  • Consider your child's developmental stage.
  • Encourage regular breaks.
  • Check safety settings.
  • Use virtual boundaries.
  • Set expectations.
  • Watch out for signs of harm.

Technology can impact family dynamics, personal safely, and wellbeing. So, gift thoughtfully and safely these holidays and introduce any new device alongside healthy and safe online habits.

Explore the gift guide here

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