Cyber safety community meeting

Pictured during a visit by members from Project Rockit at the Stawell Secondary School last year are students (back) Ashleigh, Shania, Sophie, Luke and Hannah; (front) Project Rockit founders Rosie and Lucy Thomas. Picture: KERRI KINGSTON

Pictured during a visit by members from Project Rockit at the Stawell Secondary School last year are students (back) Ashleigh, Shania, Sophie, Luke and Hannah; (front) Project Rockit founders Rosie and Lucy Thomas. Picture: KERRI KINGSTON

CENTRAL Grampians Local Learning and Employment Network is planning a community meeting in Stawell focused on cyber safety.

The community meeting has been scheduled for Wednesday, July 23 in the Stawell Secondary College Hall, commencing at 7pm.

Executive Officer at Central Grampians LLEN, James Skene, said the meeting was designed to inform members of the community what the issues are in relation to cyber safety and to ensure parents are aware of what their children are viewing online and how they are using mobile devices.

"The meeting will be an opportunity to let the public know what is happening and what their children are up to in relation to their use of devices and the internet," Mr Skene said.

"Parents will also gain a better understanding of what the issues are that their children are facing every day.

"Really we are trying to generate interest in cyber safety to drive people to come along to the meeting."

Some of these issues that will be covered include cyber bullying.

Cybersafety is a broad term referring to appropriate and responsible behaviour online - it covers online privacy and information protection, good manners and behaviour online and knowing how to get help to deal with online issues.

Cyberbullying is when technology, such as email, mobile phones, chat rooms and social networking sites, are used to verbally or socially bully another person. Bullying is an ongoing abuse of power to threaten or harm another person.

The internet, mobile phones and instant messaging provide wonderful opportunities for children to learn, be creative and socialise online. They also provide opportunities for inappropriate behaviour, bullying and harassment to occur - causing pain and suffering to the targets of such behaviour.

This guide provides important information for parents about cybersafety and cyberbullying. It suggests what you could do if your child is the target or is responsible for inappropriate online behaviour.

The following are some common examples of cybersafety issues, including cyberbullying:

Sending or posting abusive, threatening, humiliating or harassing messages via text, social networking sites or email.

Forwarding others' personal emails, messages, pictures or videos without their permission.

Uploading embarrassing or degrading images or videos involving other children (including fight videos).

Taking and sending sexually explicit images of other children using mobile phone or web applications.

Using social networking sites or blogs to post inappropriate photographs or messages about other children or school staff.

Excluding children online through emails, chat and social networking sites.

Imitating others or assuming a child's identity, then sending and posting material which damages their social status or relationships with others.

Making prank calls to another child's mobile phone.

The internet is playing an increasingly important role in the social development of children. It is providing more and more opportunities for them to engage with other children and adults and get instant feedback. It is therefore not surprising that children may also use this technology as a way to harass and intimidate others.

The internet allows information to be sent to a large audience instantly. It also provides a sense of anonymity. With an ability to send material to others under a false name or details, children can easily post negative or harmful comments without fear of being caught.

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