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The Cyber Safety Guru

Advice and tips for parents and teens about online safety

My Great Big Adventure ABC Kids

My Great Big Adventure on ABC Kids is a great show for young Australian’s providing advice, how-to guides, and hot topics in a conversational and fun show.

They provide great content about social media: Must Watch Episode about Your Digital Footprint all about how your social media activity can impact you online and off and how to deal with cyber bullying.

Their Website: http://www.abc.net.au/abc3/mygreatbigadventure/

To watch the Episode Click Here: http://www.abc.net.au/abc3/watchnow/shows/abc3/?s=CH1341H

Your digital footprint is what you put on the Internet will leave a mark on the web forever. So be cautious about what you are posting, what you are saying and where you are checking in. Again, be sure to check your privacy settings, if its free for everyone to see then nothing is private!

Be safe Online and be aware of your digital footprint!
Maria, The Cyber Safety Guru

SPOOKY SAFE HALLOWEEN

STAY SAFE

Who are you really talking to this Halloween? Be sure to remember that the dangers of speaking to strangers happens all year round! Take the opportunity to at Halloween to see who is friend or foe.. is someone just trying to spook you out? Take Action! Block, Report and Tell a trusted Adult!!

For more about stranger danger online, read: https://thecybersafetyguru.wordpress.com/2015/10/21/stranger-danger/

Remember if you are going trick or treating with friends to stay together, never let a friend go off alone.. everyone can be in costume so it can be hard to tell who’s who. Have a buddy and stay with that trusted buddy! Remember create your safe word, if someone approaches you and you don’t know who they are ask them the safe word!! There can be a lot of ghost costumes walking the streets make sure its a friend and not a foe!

  1. Have a buddy
  2. Have a safe word
  3. Stay together at all times
  4. If something seems wrong, tell the nearest adult
  5. Enjoy Halloween

Enjoy your Halloween and as always stay safe online and off!

Maria, The Cyber Safety Guru

Hide or Seek, The Importance of Geo Tagging

Geo-tagging is a way of embedding location information into photos, posts or online content through social media sites and smart phone apps. Geo-tags provide exact coordinates of where the photo was taken, or where you ‘check-in’. Although geo-tagging can be a fun way to share your location with friends, there can be risks associated with geotagging.

With the rise of missing and exploited children, some of these are simple incidents of the child getting lost and reappearing later, however some of these are abductions. This is why understanding the importance of geotagging functions are vital for protecting your teens and children.

Because geotagging allows the location to be viewed in the picture, the file has now become part of metadata. This means that anyone with internet access can see the information, click on the location point and find out where you are.

Social media sites such as Facebook and Twitter use the information from geotagging and location settings to create marketing strategies to target ads to consumers based on location.

Real Life Story:

In 2010, a Louisville, Kentucky mother was able to use a GPS system installed on her child’s phone to track him when it went missing. When police knocked at the door indicated by the tracking report, the homeowner admitted she knew the child but wasn’t initially willing to talk. However, when confronted with the evidence, she admitted that the child’s phone was there and handed it over. Moments later, the missing child tried to jump out of a window and managed to alert the police to his presence, allowing him to be returned safely.

How to turn-off geotagging settings:
You can go to the settings on their phones and turn off the location settings. Also be sure to go into individual folders for camera, social media apps and turn off the location settings.

Sharing photos and posts is fun and a great way to communicate but teens need to understand that if the profiles are on public and they are checking in on Instagram or Facebook if someone clicks on that location they will get the exact coordinates of where they are. You wouldn’t just hand out your address to strangers, so don’t post it on the Internet.


It is important to have ‘track my iphone’ or apps that allow you to personally track your child’s location for example downloading thread. The positives of geo-tagging and location settings can be to find your child if they are lost, so it is important to understand the importance of having the ability to find your child, versus the ability for others to find them.

If you have any questions or concerns, please feel free to leave a comment.

For more articles read here:

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/facebook-launches-child-rescue-alerts-u-article-1.2363156

http://resources.uknowkids.com/blog/bid/240709/Location-Monitoring-It-s-Nothing-Like-The-Good-Old-Days

http://www.examiner.com/article/children-being-stalked-online-using-geo-tagging-by-pedophiles-and-sex-perverts

As always keep safe!
Maria, The Cyber Safety Guru

#Selfiesafety

A search for the word ‘selfie’ on Instagram returns over 217 million results! A selfie is defined as ‘a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically on a smartphone, with the intention or sharing on social media.’ Unfortunately, the pursuit of the perfect ‘selfie’ has become somewhat of an obsession that has resulted in people placing themselves and others in great danger. There has been an increasing number of cases over recent years where individuals have ultimately lost their lives attempting to take selfies in unsafe location and situations. Here are our top ten tips for staying safe while you selfie!

#selfiesafeThe Cyber Safety Guru & Eyes Wide Shut Campaigns have come together to create this great printable Top 10 PDF! Be sure to print it out today!

Selfie safety is important, here are some tips for parents:

  • Teach teens early in that sefies, social media posts and the feedback they receive on social media should not be tied to their self worth – likes do not mean how liked you are in real life or as a person!
  • Inform your kids to be aware of the world around them at all times before taking pictures or texting friends
  • Ensure your teens are using proper privacy settings throughout out all social media accounts – click on the link for Facebook privacy check up information 
  • Instruct teens to be careful about the settings and items that are featured in selfies, as predators and identity thieves can easily piece together clues about one’s personal details in photos – is your street sign in the background?
  • Although many teens know that they shouldn’t be texting or taking selfies while driving, remind them that distracted driving is a huge danger for new drivers – don’t text and drive – don’t selfie and drive
  • Advise teens to only post selfies/photos that you would be comfortable sharing with the world
  • Help your teens cultivate a healthy relationship with the practice of taking and sharing selfies. Encourage them to share selfies for the right reasons, like exhibiting self-expression
  • Keep tabs on your teen’s digital and texting activities to ensure that your teens aren’t posting or sending appropriate selfies – you can use security and surveillance computer software programs, but remember you are overseeing their activity not spying (this can create tension and ruin relationships)

Be sure to print out the Top 10 tips for taking safe selfie pdf for your child’s computer/study nook.

Are you aware of your child’s selfie’s? Do they take selfies? Have the selfie talk today!

For more information about Instagram, be sure to check out Eyes Wide Shut, all about safety, tips and advice regarding Instagram and parents! Don’t be in the dark about Instagram: https://eyeswideshutcampaign.wordpress.com/

Keep Safe Online!
Maria, The Cyber Safety Guru

Password Please?

Most teens (and parents) have watched Harry Potter, it is considered a classic children’s/teen’s movie and it isn’t all about magic.. there are some life lessons in there. One important message that always came across was that students had to provide a password to enter their dorms, the iconic Fat Lady’s words “Password Please” were featured in every film.

So, why are passwords so important?

Passwords help to protect private information from being viewed by just anybody.. we have passwords on our phones, our email accounts, even our bank cards have passwords. They are designed to keep sensitive information from prying eyes. Just like we need high privacy settings we need high security passwords.

Google Safety Center suggests that: you need to Protect passwords.
Help your family learn how to set secure passwords online. Remind your family not to give out their passwords, except maybe to trusted adults, like a parent. Make sure they make a habit of signing out of their online accounts when they are on public computers at school, in a café or at the library.

Setting home Internet passwords is also a great way for you to monitor your child’s online behaviour and let’s you know when they are accessing the web. A great way to set the Internet password is to change it once a week and only provide the password if the kids have finished their chores or accomplished their daily homework.

But just as being safe online is important – being safe offline is just as important. This is were the family safe word comes in! The family safe word is a secret “password” that only the members of your family or anyone you trust knows! It should be discussed as a family and introduced at a young age, a great place to discuss the family safe word is during family dinner were everyone can take part in choosing the safe word. So why is it important?

Imagine your child is leaving school for the day and waits for you at a designated spot each day, just take a moment to imagine someone (an intruder, pervert, someone who you don’t know) comes to “pick up” your child, in your place. They can easily convince the teacher that they are an aunt or uncle, but can they trick your kid? All your child needs to ask is “what’s the safe word?”  and they can conclude whether they are friend or foe.

Child abduction and missing children are sadly a growing epidemic, with help from social media it is becoming easier for your child to communicate with strangers. Strangers who may one day take their communications offline and decide to meet your child. Do not under-estimate the strength of the safe word.

Remember it is important to only accept friends online, who are actually your friends, if you have doubt about anyone you have online it is best to block, delete and tell a trusted adult. These rules apply offline – tell a teacher, a friend, even a friends parent if you feel unsafe or you perhaps don’t recognise the person picking you up.

The following are some tips The Morcombe Foundation advise to keep your child safe from abduction:

1. When you can, stay with a friend. Even if you have a fight with your mate, don’t go off alone.

2. Be observant. Notice who’s around you and what they’re doing.

3. Have a family password. Something like your favourite food – lasagne, for example. If a person says they are meant to pick you up, test them on the password.

4. With your parents, make a list of 5 adults you trust. If you ever feel uneasy about anybody or anything, tell one of these people and know you won’t get into trouble. If you feel you’re not being listened to, try someone else.

5. Don’t share information about yourself, like your hobbies or the name of your school with people you don’t know, online or in real life

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The Next Day for Daniel is on the 30th October, for more information please visit:
http://www.dayfordaniel.com.au/

Read More at:
http://www.mamamia.com.au/parenting/safe-word-for-kids/
http://www.danielmorcombe.com.au/
https://www.fbi.gov/fun-games/kids/kids-safety
http://www.aic.gov.au/media_library/publications/facts/2011/facts_and_figures_2011.pdf

Question Time:
Have you spoken to your kids about child abduction?
Do you have a family safe word?

Keep Safe online and offline!
Maria, The Cyber Safety Guru

Stranger Danger

As our kids grow up we repeat these words “stranger danger” do not go with strangers, do speak to anyone you do not know and so on. But, are these lessons taken online?

It is important to remember that although the Internet has provided opportunities to communicate and interact with our friends online it has also opened another virtual world where being safe is just as important there as it is on the streets.

2041-12_BGCA_cyberSafe_pinterest4

Kids and teens take part on many channels online whether it be Facebook, online chat, Bebo, My Space, and many more, and even smartphone social media apps such as Instagram..the list is endless. These are all opportunities to chat with strangers if your teens are not using the appropriate levels of privacy settings.

Tips for staying safe online:

  1. Be careful about what sites you go to
  2. Be careful of emails that come from people you don’t know
  3. Be careful of clicking pop-up screens or filling out online forms
  4. If you are feeling scared or worried about something that happens on the Internet tell an adult about what is happening
  5. Not everything on the Internet is true

Previously we spoke about catfishing it is important to keep this in mind when speaking to people online – you never know who you are talking to.

smartonlineaaa

If you decide you want to meet up with a stranger (which is not what the Guru recommends) here are some safety tips:

  1. Don’t put too much personal information on your social networking pages – too much information means putting where you live, your mobile number, your first and last name as well as geo-tagging all your locations – if that information is needed then put the settings on private so that no one else can see
  2. Tell a trysted adult (parent/family/friend) that you intent to meet this person and give them a copy of the details you have received  – you’d never know they might know them or their family
  3. Do a bit of background checking (it’s very easy to be someone else online, no matter how long you’ve known them, you don’t really know them) – search for details online, ask around in school, look in the phone book
  4. Call them with an unlisted number, turn your caller ID sending off (remember text messages always give your number) – you can tell a lot from someone’s voice
  5. Arrange to meet somewhere in public – not somewhere you would normally go, do not meet at your own home or a friends or anywhere related to you. Be sure to tell your parents where you are going and when and with whom. think of a shopping center, busy cafes or anywhere in public
  6. Be sure to bring either a trusted adult or friend with you – they can leave and sit somewhere not obvious, or they can leave and come back at a set time. Do not leave the meet up zone
  7. Meet them under these circumstances for a few times until you are certain they are really the person you have gotten to know online

Meeting some you don’t know for the first time can be dangerous and not something we would recommend. If you have any reservations about meeting them, then don’t. Always trust your gut instincts – if any red flags pop up then it’s a sign to not go.

Also remember, people online can make you do things you do not want to do – for example sending sexy photos, nudes are asking for videos of inappropriate content. If this is something you do not want to do – then do not do it. Remember once it’s sent it is not in your control where it might go. Remember there are measures in place for reporting abuse, on all social networking websites there are tools and places to seek help, or telling a trusted adult.

For more information you can go to:

http://www.kidshelpline.com.au/kids/information/hot-topics/staying-safe-online.php

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/30-of-teen-girls-admit-real-life-meeting-with-online-stranger/

As always stay safe online and off!

Maria, The Cyber Safety Guru

The world of snapchat

Welcome to the world of Snapchat.. hang on you don’t know what snapchat is :O no fear let me introduce you!

Snapchat was released in 2011 as a fun and interactive way for people to communicate through sending 10 second images or videos of themselves to friends. The yellow background and ghost logo are now iconic platforms for teen interaction.

Although the intent of Snapchat is for fun between friends, Snapchat has also been used as a form of sexting and sending nudie selfies.

The way snapchat works is you take a photo or video which lasts up to 10seconds then the footage vanishes. However the controversy surrounding Snapchat is the where do these images go and can someone save them?
The answer is YES!
People are able to take a screen shot (the sender will be notified) or my secretly by downloading third party apps that take screen shots without the sender knowing, or by using another camera phone to take a photo of the snap.

The fact is once that image is sent, it is out there for the world to see.. potentially.

Snapchat has recently created a Snapchat safety center that provides tips, advice and where to go if your experiencing Snapchat problems, take a look at some points they share:

Screen Shot 2015-10-18 at 2.29.07 pm

Safety tips and resources

Staying safe on Snapchat is everyone’s responsibility.

  • Be kind and respectful. Be thoughtful about what you Snap and don’t send people things they don’t want to receive.
  • Remember, anyone can take a screenshot of a Snap, or simply use another camera to take a picture of a Snap that appears on their screen.
  • Check your privacy settings to choose who can send you Snaps and view your Stories.
  • If you experience harassment or bullying, block the person and report it to us. Also, check out ConnectSafely’s information on cyberbullying.
  • Keep your password safe. Don’t share your password with other people, applications, or websites. Use a different password for every service you use.
  • Read our Community Guidelines and help your friends follow them as well. If you experience something upsetting, let us know and tell a parent or trusted adult.

Snapchat is not always used for sending sexy nude photos or explicit content, most teens use it to send fun and silly photos with their friends, when their out and about having fun or filming adventures or the days events. Snapchat should not be immediately banned by parents, it needs to be discussed and acknowledged – need to encourage the safe use of Snapchat by only sending images you would want anyone and everyone to see (even a potential boss!) and that content in cyberspace is accessible to anyone!

Note: you need to check your Snapchat privacy settings and make sure that only friends can receive your snaps. Go to settings and Who can see.. and make sure it has “my friends”
Check out: https://support.snapchat.com/a/privacy-settings for a step-by-step guide

Parent’s Guide to SnapChat by ConnectSafely: http://www.connectsafely.org/wp-content/uploads/snapchat_parents_guide.pdf

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Enjoy the fun of snapping it is a creative and fun way to communicate with friends!

As always, stay safe online!
Maria, The Cyber Safety Guru

Tech Talk – Teens Health Online with The Guru & The Dr

Tech Talk with The Cyber Safety Guru and Stop Dr. Google!
The Guru is all about being safe online and the Dr is all about using appropriate online channels for health information – but always remember Google does not replace your doctor! So, today we have come together to talk to you about Teens Health Online!

Being a teenager can be difficult, lots of friendship changes, increased studies and social life, with most teens spending more time online than with the family! So when it comes to teenagers searching for health symptoms it’s important to make sure that they are using appropriate websites!

We all know about puberty blues and with easy reach to laptops, smart phones and iPads, teens are turning to technology to ask about their issues, get information and reach out to others. A Northwestern University study showed that most teenagers were seeking information on: everyday topics such as exercise and nutrition, according to the study. They’re also searching for more information on stress, anxiety, sexually transmitted infections (STIs), depression and sleep.

Common Questions teens may ask include:
How often do I get my periods?
Why do I get wet dreams?
What are the chances on contracting STDs?
How can I get skinnier?
How often should I exercise?

These and more questions, often can be embarrassing to speak to your parents about and hence why teens turn to the Internet. What’s important to remember is that you need clear and open communication about your teen’s health and life cycles. Growing up is difficult and often body functions change and develop, and it’s important to note that these changes are often normal, but if something doesn’t feel right remember you need to tell a trusted adult, parent and seek medical advice from your GP.

If you do want to research online, you must remember you cannot believe everything you read on the Internet. Some websites we would recommend include:

Kidshealth.org is a safe place for teens and tweens who need honest, accurate information and advice our health, emotions and life. All articles are created by a team of paediatricians and other medical experts. They also have a page dedicated to advice for parents – http://kidshealth.org/parent/.

Healthy-kids.com.au is a great online destination for healthy food choices and recommendations for teens.

Healthdirect.gov.au/kids-health is a great avenue for looking up various health issues suffered by kids and teens. They provide in-depth explanations of symptoms, treatments and recommendations.

If you are feeling down, are stressed or going through a tough time with school, friends, well-being or family – we recommend contacting kidshelpline.com.au.

If you are unsure of the changes happening to your body, read this article (link: http://raisingchildren.net.au/articles/puberty.html)

Or watch this:

What to expect if you’re a girl

What to expect if you’re a boy:

For any more questions you can contact:

Bessy, Stop Dr Google – here

Maria, The Cyber Safety Guru – here

As always, keep safe online and remember if symptoms persist visit your doctor!

The Naked Truth

The hardiest part about kids and teens being online is that you can’t watch their every move or see what they are doing constantly, but we can always support them and help guide them.

A growing phase is the nude selfie, 1 in 5 girls are sending nude or sexy photos of themselves. Most of these images are sent to boyfriends or girlfriends without malicious intention, however young love can be felting and these images often get used as revenge porn or shared among friends.

Nude selfies are becoming easier to take as well with apps such as Snapchat being more commonly used, however once your image is out there it is no longer in your possession. However, it is still illegal and many can be prosecuted for having such images.

Take a quick look at the following 4 part mini series created by “ThinkUknow UK” and Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre “CEOP”

Where to go for advice:

Think U Know Australia – http://www.thinkuknow.org.au/site/

More about the practice of sexting visit: http://nobullying.com/naked-selfies/ and http://www.thinkuknow.co.uk/14_plus/need-advice/selfies-and-sexting/

Articles about sexting & nude selfies:
http://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2015/sep/20/teen-prosecuted-naked-images-himself-phone-selfies
http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/rendezview/how-naked-became-the-new-normal/story-fnpug1jf-1227511641790
http://www.smh.com.au/queensland/caboolture-man-avoids-jail-for-exchanging-explicit-selfies-with-girl-20140925-10m3n1.html

Maria, The Cyber Safety Guru

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