Protect Yourself Online

This is very dramatic. The graphics are superb and the messages are clear. The video is created by the Victorian Department of Justice in Australia. Our police and justice departments are not known for their over reactions. They deal with things very calmly. There is probably a reason for this to be so dramatic. They are dealing with things like this every day. It is their job. They want us to sit up and take notice. We can never let online protection and cyber – bullying fade from our thoughts and we do need to remind ourselves on a regular basis to keep the conversations going so that we look after ourselves and each other. It is awful a young girl would attempt suicide because of cyber-bullying but not tell any adults incase she lost internet access and her phone. That says it all. We need to look at good ways of looking after young people and we need to ensure they will report undesirable online activity to someone who can do something about it. Maybe losing their phone or online activity for a while would be a good way to help them re-establish their priorities and happy life. I would find it very difficult to be a parent these days but we do live in a community which picks up social wellbeing messages strongly and will share them publicly on the radio, on Facebook posts, in papers, on TV. We do get community messages out there effectively and that would help support parents. Schools play a role in this too and can be reminded to stay on message. Blocking, muting, unfriending , checking settings and changing passwords are all easy ways of keeping safe. No one is your friend if they are making you feel threatened and really unhappy. It’s all part of the personal and social capability of the Australian national curriculum. I have recently heard some good stories of how two parents dealt with their children who were online bullies and it more or less followed  restorative justice lines. That is if parents find out and if they have the tools to deal with these things. Some parents might feel ashamed and then not act. Some would not know. Protecting ourselves online needs to be a recurrent conversation. We can all play a part.

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