We were lucky enough to host Susan McLean – Cybercop at our school. All students had the opportunity to hear her speak about the dangers of social media and the internet. Susan reinforced “You are not a number of likes and no one is ever going to know anymore because likes are now hidden”. Susan stressed to the students to be aware of their online presence and the footprint they leave behind. Susan’s number one tip was “you do not talk to people you do not know in real life. You wouldn’t talk to a stranger in the real world, so don’t talk to them online.”
Susan was able to use real-life examples to explain the many dangers to the students and she also stated the legal precedents that had been set. It was explained that by standing by – or being a part of a group chat – where inappropriate things were said, that you are guilty by association. Her parting line to the group was “No-one at school or at home or in the wider community has a right to harm you in any way, shape or form. You have got to be prepared to speak up. Set the bar high. And do not tolerate behaviour that is disrespectful, harmful and illegal. Because you are better than that”.
“I thought it was very interesting that some of the things you would think are innocent acts that you do on social media or towards another person on the internet, can lead to serious charges and crimes, no matter who you are. I also found it very sad that the leading cause of death for young Australians is suicide and 80% per cent of that is caused by some type of bullying. Even the smallest things by even liking, sharing or commenting on someone’s social media post, can affect the person’s mental health, self-confidence and worth greatly as well as the people around them who are involved”.