The West

Julian Dooley with son Finian. Picture: Iain Gillespie/The West Australian

Admitting to a time when he received email alerts around the clock, cyber safety expert Julian Dooley now switches his mobile off each night, and keeps email and text alerts on silent.

"I am restricting a lot of what my digital technology can do because I saw how it could take over everything - I was never without an iPad," Dr Dooley said.

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"I feel much better - you need to get away from it so it does not detract from other aspects of your life."

With young people, the focus should be on building good digital habits both in remaining safe when online and also developing the discipline to restrict use to healthy amounts.

Here, he shares his tips to keep the use of technology healthy and low risk:

1. Take a break. Try to fit time into your week to switch off. Even a couple of hours with no email or social networking will help. Set a "turn off" time and stick to it.

2. Use technology to enhance, not substitute, offline activities.

3. Update anti-virus software regularly.

4. Be confident you know who you share information with.

5. Check automatic settings; for example, automatically uploading pictures to a social networking site may not be a good idea.

6. Limit the amount of time spent online.

7. Turn off automatic notification of work emails on your smartphone over the weekend. You can also turn on airplane mode.

8. Think about setting up technology-exclusion zones in your house; for example, no phones, tablets or laptops in the bedroom.

9. Model good behaviour and practices to young people.

10. Practise good etiquette - don't check email or your social networking site in the middle of a conversation.

The West Australian

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