Category Archives: Cyber Safety Education

Cyber Safety Education issues, ideas.

70 Schools Targeted In International Porn Ring

70 Schools Targeted In International Porn Ring

image via Shutterstock
image via Shutterstock

 

As I get ready to head off to speak at another parent Cyber Safety education evening tonight, the news about a forum hosting nude photos of underage girls from over 70 Australian schools has been revealed. No doubt there will be questions tonight from the parents about this horrific story.

Cyber safety educators, parents, police and teachers are understandably shocked and frustrated that the message about not sharing nude photos of underage teens, whether consensually or non- consensually, is simply not being heeded. Australian students are being educated daily about respecting their fellow students, about the dangers of sexting, cyber bullying and about cyber safety, but the message is clearly being ignored by so many youths, resulting in untold harm and distress. Todays upsetting episode is only one of about 4 recent incidents involving boys victimising girls sexually online recently in Australia that has been reported by our media.

With recent studies showing that 1 in 4 Teens think that sharing nude photos is “normal” behaviour what are we all doing wrong? Why are teens still doing this? And not only that, what is driving this almost vengeful exploitation by our young men of young women and girls?

What Is The Solution?

There is no easy solution to this. This behaviour seems like the result from a combination of easy access to pornography, lack of empathy and revenge, mixed in with naive trust and an over sexualised celebrity obsession.

I personally know of cases where parents have actually confronted their children about potential sexting after they saw the warning signs, but their children still went ahead and did it. Teens simply don’t believe, the warnings or care to pay any attention to them.

Many teens are simply not taking this seriously at all. The perpetrators don’t care about hurting others and the victims don’t believe that their intimate photos might end up embarrassing them and hurting them in the longer term.

Teens Being Teens…

Some might say that it sounds like a typical case of Teens being Teens, but the fall out when it all goes wrong can be huge. Lives may be ruined, some of the victims in this latest case have already said they are suicidal. The parents of both the victims and the predators must be distraught. One would hope we don’t get a repeat of the “Boys will be boys” attitude from some of the parents as happened in one recent case.

What can parents do?

  1. Have a conversation about this story…NOW!
  2. Never assume that your child WON”T pass on a nude photo or take one of themselves and share it.
  3. Closely supervise your younger teens and pre-teens phone and computer use. Set boundaries around photo sharing, be clear what is allowed.
  4. Be very clear about the Law with your child, the criminal consequences of this type of behaviour. www.lawstuff.org.au has a guide.
  5. Go with your child to check their privacy settings on their mobile devices. Check that they don’t have their school identified on their social media account. Is their friends list on Facebook Hidden from public view. Go to the “Friends Tab” – “Click Pencil” “Edit Privacy” set both settings to the most private setting.
  6. Turn off location services on their phone camera and other messaging and photo apps through the privacy and location services settings.
  7. Make sure they don’t share passwords or leave their devices unattended without a screen lock.
  8. Keep younger kids OFF adult social media sites. 13+ is the legal age.
  9. If you know of any underage sexting or underage sexing images being posted report them to www.eSafety.gov.au or contact your local police.
  10. If you feel ill equiped to supervise or educate your child about this type of issue and other online issues, please attend a digital parenting or cyber safety education session. You will gain skills you didn’t think you would require.

What Next?

Even with all these privacy settings set up there is still NO way to prevent your child being a victim of these type of rings if there is an intimate photo of them on a device or online somewhere. The security and privacy settings may help and must be enabled, but they are not fail safe.

If your children simply don’t believe they will ever be hurt by taking and sharing a nude photo there is unfortunately not much you can do to protect them. We need to focus far more on the hateful predatory behaviour of the boys involved in these situations.

What Are The Police Doing?

The police are investigating this site as there may be underage children involved here. But realistically, if they do manage to find the administrators of this site, which may be hosted overseas, and have it removed, you can be sure another one will be set up in it’s place. The massive amount of publicity this case has gained will, sadly, encourage others to set up the same type of ring. Notoriety fuels copycats.

The people involved in this ring must be held accountable, the images must be removed. But more importantly our society needs to do some serious work on why this is happening.

As bad as this episode is, and it sounds like it’s going to get worse as more schools are found to be caught up in this, I hope that the media attention this awful incident is receiving might wake parents and children up to the fact that we need to educate and supervise our teens far more about the consequences of this behaviour.

 

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Sexting And Teens

Sexting And Teens

I was invited to be part of today’s Channel 7’s Daily Edition program to discuss some new findings from a recent Australian study of 1,200 teens and their experiences with sexting, as reported by the Sydney Morning Herald and the Daily Mail UK. The term sexting refers to the practice of sending sexual photos to another person via… Continue Reading

I Thought I Was Pretty Cyber Savvy, And We Were Safe…

I Thought I Was Pretty Cyber Savvy, And We Were Safe…

This is THE most common phrase that I hear after I’m contacted by a parent when something has gone wrong for their child online. The second most common phrase is, “I’m really clueless about all of this, I wish I knew more”. The reason these parents are contacting me and saying one of those two… Continue Reading

Protecting Your Family Photos Online

Protecting Your Family Photos Online

This week I appeared on the Channel 10 TV Morning Show Studio 10 to discuss with the panel a recent story that was doing the rounds on media about a pair of Dutch Cyber Safety Vigilanties who had created a website called Koppie Koppie, where they are advertising coffee mugs for sale with stolen photos of… Continue Reading

Cyber Safety Education Is The Key For Keeping Students Safe Online

Cyber Safety Education Is The Key For Keeping Students Safe Online

Recently, I was interviewed for Education Matters Magazine about raising cyber safety awareness in school communities. Click on this Link To read the whole article: I’m convinced that Cyber Safety is a whole community responsibility, not just the schools, or the Governments, or parents or the users! It’s simply not good enough to sit smugly… Continue Reading

Teachers Being Targeted Online By Students

Teachers Being Targeted Online By Students

  Alarmingly, more and more teachers are reporting that they are being targeted online by students. Commonly its a Facebook or Instagram account set up in the teacher’s name, which is then used to post out embarrassing updates or photoshopped images distorted, to humiliate or embarrass the teacher. If the teacher eventually finds out about the fake account,… Continue Reading

Do Scare Tactics Work For Cyber Safety?

Do Scare Tactics Work For Cyber Safety?

Last week I received a message from a parent who asked me for a referral to a video that showed a real life scenario that she could show her 13 year old daughter that would give her daughter a bit of a scare, and show her that there are people on the internet that could be dangerous.… Continue Reading

Parents, You Think It’s Bad Now? Wait Till Your Child Wants A Wearable….

I just bought my first wearable…..Don’t know what a wearable is? Crawl out from under that rock, and welcome to your future. Wearables are digital internet connected devices that you wear…nope not talking about your iPod or mobile phone worn on your arm in a holder…but digital communication smart devices that are either embedded into clothing,… Continue Reading

Parents Cyber Safety Education Vital For Children’s Online Safety

Parents Cyber Safety Education Vital For Children’s Online Safety

  Telstra’s latest Cyber Safety report for July 2014, shows clearly that parents are still largely unaware of what their children are doing online, and are urgently in need cyber safety education in order to keep on top of their children’s digital online use.     Quote from the study –  “Generation gap US research… Continue Reading

Digital Parenting And Setting Boundaries

At every Digital Parenting or Cyber Safety talk I present there is always at least one parent who asks me how they can get their child “off” Kik Messenger. This question is usually asked after they have heard from myself, the teachers and the police, during the talk, that Kik Messenger is far too dangerous for kids to use. The… Continue Reading