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Playing with fire on Facebook


Posted S Lowe for 5THE FM newsonline wattlerangenow

Source: SAPOL

Police have become aware of a local Facebook page set up to post malicious gossip about local teens. These pages are sometimes referred to as “Burn Books” and contain hateful and cruel comments.

From time-to-time police are notified of social media sites such as this that contain inappropriate material.

Police examine the material to determine if it constitutes criminal behaviour and if offenders can be identified.

Sergeant Paul Scicluna from Limestone Coast Crime Prevention, says police will not hesitate to take action against anyone acting illegally on this juvenile page.

“People who send these comments in are gutless and often think they are hiding behind anonymity.”

“However, people who use social media need to be aware that they are leaving a digital footprint, which can lead to them being charged and electronic offending can have long-term repercussions.”

“People need to put themselves in the position of victims and consider the harmful, hateful comments and lies can do, particularly to vulnerable youth.’

In addition to investigating criminal matters, SAPOL can also lodge complaints with companies such as Facebook about material published on the site.

Ultimately the removal of such sites is a decision for those companies, including Facebook. Members of the public can lodge the complaints also.

But remember, if you are targeted by these juvenile and hurtful pages, don’t respond.

It only serves to fuel further posts. If you – as a student, parent or caregiver – have any concerns about material posted, please notify police immediately.

While the internet can be a wonderful way for teens to be entertained and to communicate with friends and family, it can also bring risks.

For concerned parents, it’s no longer possible to keep children away from computers and pretend the internet doesn’t exist.

Instead, we need to properly prepare them for a digital future and coach them so they can make the right decisions.

That means understanding our children’s online activities and developing rules and guidelines that both the parent and child can embrace.

If you maintain a dialogue and are consistent in your approach, your child will quickly develop the good online habits that will be so important through the teen years and beyond.

Don’t leave it to chance or let others teach your child. Become an online parent today!

1. Be informed. Find out what your children likes to do on the web, which sites they like to visit, and which games they plays. Spend time together online and show an interest in what they are doing.
2. Start a dialogue. Talk to your child about online safety and be specific about your concerns. Let them know there are safe and unsafe web sites, just as there are safe and unsafe places to go in the real world.
3. Protect personal information. Teach your child to respect personal information – their own and other people’s. Teach them to never to share passwords, phone numbers, addresses, or other personal information, and to never post pictures or information about other people without their permission. Do not give out personal details could be used to identify you, such as your family, where you live or the school you go to.
4. Click smart. Teach your child not to open files or click on links unless they are from a trusted source. Talk about the dangers of malware and how viruses can harm files and the performance of the computer.
5. Install parental controls. Install a top-rated suite of parental controls to protect your home computers and monitor your child’s use. All-in-one solutions, include blocking features to restrict or filter inappropriate content, time-management controls to limit screen time, and tools to monitor your child’s communications. Let your child know that you have installed parental controls; trust is the foundation of good decision-making.
More information for parents and children about cyber safety is available from the Australian Communications and Media Authority at: http://www.cybersmart.gov.au

Source: SAPOL

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