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Cybersafety and Young People

Cybersafety is a hot topic in schools and the wider society, and it scares many parents and teachers. Susan McLean, a very experienced worker in this area in Australia, has given us permission to publish information and handouts about cybersafety.

Susan McLean – KeEpInG sAfE iN cYbErSpAcE – Addressing the Issues of Cybersafety and Young People

Senior Constable Susan Mclean works with the Victoria Police Cybersafety Project.

Download handout sheets - handy hints and resources (203Kb pdf file).

  • This topic includes the use of mobile phones. There is no filtering facility for mobile phones to prevent unacceptable material from being delivered – now or in the foreseeable future.
  • She received her first report of cyberbullying in 1994. A group of Year 8 girls had posted another girl’s contacts on an adult chat room and offered her for free sex.
  • USA and UK have cybersafe material incorporated into their school curricula from the first year of schooling. Australia is a long way behind. Not everything is negative about the internet, but teachers and parents need to be skilled in this area.
  • There is no point in trying to keep young people off the internet. In the US, 98% of young people said they would not report an unwelcome incident because their parents would probably remove the facility completely. Parents can use a timed withdrawal, e.g. for a week; this is a more effective penalty for misuse than permanent removal.
  • Telstra adds internet browsing facility to all new 3G mobile phones automatically. You have to ask for it not to be added.
  • The ability to use modern technology to record foreverthe inappropriate behaviour by young people is now greater than ever before.
  • There is no anonymity online. When you connect, you get allocated an IP address. You always leave a digital footprint. It does not matter what you call yourself … you can be traced. Postings and comments can be found years later.
  • “An IP Address (or Internet Protocol address) is a unique address that certain electronic devices use in order to identify and communicate with each other on a computer network utilizing the Internet Protocol standard (IP) – in simpler terms, a computer address.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_address)
  • You can look at the header of emails (the location varies among different email programs) and find out some information about the sender. Some give IP address and provider. Date, time and time zone stamp can also usually be found there.
  • What technologies are we talking about? Examples: World Wide Web; email (“old person’s stuff”), chat; social networking sites (MySpace, Facebook, Piczo, Bebo); instant messaging (MSN, Live Messenger); video / photo uploading (YouTube, Photobucket); newsgroups; peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing; visual chat rooms / virtual worlds / live gaming sites (X-Box Live, Club Penguin, Habbo Hotel – now just Habbo, Second Life).
  • What are they doing to other young people?
    • Harassment / stalking;
    • Bullying;
    • Exchange of illegal or harmful images / videos (often done as a “joke” or when pressured by others, not always unwillingly; sometimes done to attract members of the other gender);
    • Identity theft (someone pretending to be somebody else; everyone knows everyone else’s hotmail address); kids feel compelled to reply, instantly, often without thinking;
    • Posting personal identifying information – not aware that their audience is potentially millions of other users;
    • Being solicited online – groomed;
  • Accessing highly inappropriate sites / images (potential to damage their psychological development [girls’ brains stop developing at about 18-20; boys at about 28-30]; skewed view of normality and right and wrong).
  • You should change your password every three months. Be creative. Put in things that can’t be guessed. Put creative answers into your secret question on websites that ask for that form of “security”.
  • Kids need to hear this information and these warnings continuously, because their brains can not hold it for very long. They are simply not developed sufficiently yet at their age.
  • She talked about MSN. Chat is different from MSN Instant Messaging. Chat is open; MSN is with a closed group. Online friends are not always physically known to them. They do not see them as strangers in the same way as in the real world.
  • Social networking – example: MySpace = 4.9 million hits in 2005; 67 million hits in Sepembert 2006. A profile on MySpace can be set to “Private”. You must put an age over 14, but if they put in an age over 18, the profile is automatically set to “Open”. And there is no way of guaranteeing that the age put into the profile is accurate. People
    should not put enough information on their MySpace page to be able to be identified by others. On Facebook, you have to identify yourself – the idea of the site is to contact people from your past. Facebook tends to be safer than MySpace, but there is no valid reason for that.
  • Dangers:
    • Users can be target for pedophiles.
    • It can be used for criminal and inappropriate activities.
    • Young people often post personal and identifying details without thinking of the consequences.
    • Can be time wasting and problematic internet use.
    • Unsure of who is viewing the information – are they who they say they are?
    • Potential criminal charges – see handout in the PDF file.
  • What should schools be doing?
    • Embrace cyberspace and use it as a valuable tool.
    • Acknowledge the issues and treat them honestly and seriously.
    • Be proactive.
    • Plan material in the curriculum to educate students and parents from Year 1.
    • Seek expert advice promptly if an issue arises.
    • Develop adequate (not generic) policies that work, circulate them, and enforce them.
    • Establish up what is acceptable use and appropriate content on sites and in emails.
  • Revise school policies every year, not on a three year cycle.
  • Safety tips on handout in PDF file. Also a list of other websites.
  • Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has brochures – mobile phones and internet security. They are available on their website at www.acma.gov.au.
  • Useful books: “Real Wild Child” (Michael Carr-Gregg); “Destroy Avalon” (needs lots of briefing before reading it).
  • Australian Federal Police website – www.apf.gov.au.
  • Susan McLean’s email address is salconsultants@hotmail.com.

This material is published here with the kind permission of Susan McLean.

Cybersafety and Young People

Cybersafety is a hot topic in schools and the wider society, and it scares many parents and teachers. Susan McLean, a very experienced worker in this area in Australia, has given us permission to publish information and handouts about cybersafety.

Susan McLean – KeEpInG sAfE iN cYbErSpAcE – Addressing the Issues of Cybersafety and Young People

Senior Constable Susan Mclean works with the Victoria Police Cybersafety Project.

Download handout sheets - handy hints and resources (203Kb pdf file).

  • This topic includes the use of mobile phones. There is no filtering facility for mobile phones to prevent unacceptable material from being delivered – now or in the foreseeable future.
  • She received her first report of cyberbullying in 1994. A group of Year 8 girls had posted another girl’s contacts on an adult chat room and offered her for free sex.
  • USA and UK have cybersafe material incorporated into their school curricula from the first year of schooling. Australia is a long way behind. Not everything is negative about the internet, but teachers and parents need to be skilled in this area.
  • There is no point in trying to keep young people off the internet. In the US, 98% of young people said they would not report an unwelcome incident because their parents would probably remove the facility completely. Parents can use a timed withdrawal, e.g. for a week; this is a more effective penalty for misuse than permanent removal.
  • Telstra adds internet browsing facility to all new 3G mobile phones automatically. You have to ask for it not to be added.
  • The ability to use modern technology to record foreverthe inappropriate behaviour by young people is now greater than ever before.
  • There is no anonymity online. When you connect, you get allocated an IP address. You always leave a digital footprint. It does not matter what you call yourself … you can be traced. Postings and comments can be found years later.
  • “An IP Address (or Internet Protocol address) is a unique address that certain electronic devices use in order to identify and communicate with each other on a computer network utilizing the Internet Protocol standard (IP) – in simpler terms, a computer address.” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/IP_address)
  • You can look at the header of emails (the location varies among different email programs) and find out some information about the sender. Some give IP address and provider. Date, time and time zone stamp can also usually be found there.
  • What technologies are we talking about? Examples: World Wide Web; email (“old person’s stuff”), chat; social networking sites (MySpace, Facebook, Piczo, Bebo); instant messaging (MSN, Live Messenger); video / photo uploading (YouTube, Photobucket); newsgroups; peer-to-peer (P2P) sharing; visual chat rooms / virtual worlds / live gaming sites (X-Box Live, Club Penguin, Habbo Hotel – now just Habbo, Second Life).
  • What are they doing to other young people?
    • Harassment / stalking;
    • Bullying;
    • Exchange of illegal or harmful images / videos (often done as a “joke” or when pressured by others, not always unwillingly; sometimes done to attract members of the other gender);
    • Identity theft (someone pretending to be somebody else; everyone knows everyone else’s hotmail address); kids feel compelled to reply, instantly, often without thinking;
    • Posting personal identifying information – not aware that their audience is potentially millions of other users;
    • Being solicited online – groomed;
  • Accessing highly inappropriate sites / images (potential to damage their psychological development [girls’ brains stop developing at about 18-20; boys at about 28-30]; skewed view of normality and right and wrong).
  • You should change your password every three months. Be creative. Put in things that can’t be guessed. Put creative answers into your secret question on websites that ask for that form of “security”.
  • Kids need to hear this information and these warnings continuously, because their brains can not hold it for very long. They are simply not developed sufficiently yet at their age.
  • She talked about MSN. Chat is different from MSN Instant Messaging. Chat is open; MSN is with a closed group. Online friends are not always physically known to them. They do not see them as strangers in the same way as in the real world.
  • Social networking – example: MySpace = 4.9 million hits in 2005; 67 million hits in Sepembert 2006. A profile on MySpace can be set to “Private”. You must put an age over 14, but if they put in an age over 18, the profile is automatically set to “Open”. And there is no way of guaranteeing that the age put into the profile is accurate. People
    should not put enough information on their MySpace page to be able to be identified by others. On Facebook, you have to identify yourself – the idea of the site is to contact people from your past. Facebook tends to be safer than MySpace, but there is no valid reason for that.
  • Dangers:
    • Users can be target for pedophiles.
    • It can be used for criminal and inappropriate activities.
    • Young people often post personal and identifying details without thinking of the consequences.
    • Can be time wasting and problematic internet use.
    • Unsure of who is viewing the information – are they who they say they are?
    • Potential criminal charges – see handout in the PDF file.
  • What should schools be doing?
    • Embrace cyberspace and use it as a valuable tool.
    • Acknowledge the issues and treat them honestly and seriously.
    • Be proactive.
    • Plan material in the curriculum to educate students and parents from Year 1.
    • Seek expert advice promptly if an issue arises.
    • Develop adequate (not generic) policies that work, circulate them, and enforce them.
    • Establish up what is acceptable use and appropriate content on sites and in emails.
  • Revise school policies every year, not on a three year cycle.
  • Safety tips on handout in PDF file. Also a list of other websites.
  • Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) has brochures – mobile phones and internet security. They are available on their website at www.acma.gov.au.
  • Useful books: “Real Wild Child” (Michael Carr-Gregg); “Destroy Avalon” (needs lots of briefing before reading it).
  • Australian Federal Police website – www.apf.gov.au.
  • Susan McLean’s email address is salconsultants@hotmail.com.

This material is published here with the kind permission of Susan McLean.

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