THE internet has become an integral part of young people's lives.
Children old enough to punch in a few letters on the keyboard can now - literally - access the world.
But while the web offers many positive educational and social benefits, for young people there is a darker side.
Riverhills mother Kellie Broderick takes the risks into account whenever her 10-year-old daughter Natalie goes online.
Mrs Broderick said it was important parents knew what their kids saw on the internet, who they met and what they shared about themselves.
"It's quite easy for a child to be exposed to inappropriate content," she said.
"They could be searching for something as innocent as yellow daisies and still find themselves confronted with adult material."
Mrs Broderick said she had taken measures to monitor, protect and teach her daughter to use the internet safely.
"I haven't done any software disabling, but I've had discussions with Natalie about what's appropriate," she said.
"Our desktop computer is located in a study, but my husband and I are aware of when our daughter is using it for research.
"And we have an iPad that we keep in full view in the lounge room."
Mother of two Michelle Pearl, said she took similar precautions when her daughters used the internet.
"My oldest child Hayley is 10 and uses the internet at home primarily for school work," she said.
"But we keep the computers in shared family areas to help monitor what websites she is visiting."
Mrs Pearl said she was against Hayley using sites like Facebook or Myspace because she was too young for the risks involved.
Cybersmart Outreach is a national cyber safety education program managed by the Australian Communications and Media Authority.
Senior advisor for the program Rosalie O'Neale said most parents had concerns about the contact and content risks of their child using the web.
Ms O'Neale said mechanisms and software were available to parents that limited the content children could access.
"But it's getting more difficult to monitor young people with the increasing amount of smart technology that kids are using like iTouchs and iPads," she said.
Ms O'Neale said the best thing parents could do was educate themselves about technology and speak to their children in a non-threatening way about their expectations when using the net.