What are the risks?

When information is posted online it can be difficult to remove and can be easily and quickly passed beyond a student’s immediate circle of friends. It can also be misused by friends and others that they consider trustworthy. Students must be encouraged to think about their digital reputation when interacting online.

It’s worth noting that images and words can be misinterpreted when removed from their original context. When content intended for a small group of people are shared with a broader audience, it can negatively affect the student’s relationship with unintended viewers. Students might find it very difficult to explain to their parents why they are tagged in a photo posted online, which depicts them drinking, kissing, with little clothing on or with labels suggesting they are very sexually active.

Managing the risks

To help your students protect their reputation both online and offline, it is important to teach them how to manage both their own messages and images and those of others.

Creating and/or distributing sexual images of minors may constitute the production and/or distribution of child sexual abuse material. This can be the case even if the people in the image are willing participants and the ramifications vary by state and territory and are often addressed on a case-by-case basis. To help address this, remind students that they may be committing a criminal offence when taking and/or sharing sexual images of themselves or others who are minors.

Remember:

  • Be cautious if you have intercepted any content which may constitute sexual abuse material. Do not interact with the information, forward or share it in any way. Immediately seek guidance from local police.
  • Integrate your teacher resources into the school curriculum to equip your students with practical cybersafety skills and knowledge.
  • Use the Tagged video and lesson plans for secondary students whilst Cybersmart Access is useful for students with special education needs.
  • Students who are representing themselves in a highly sexualised or inappropriate manner online may require additional support from the school. A referral should be made to student support services within the school.

Where do I go for help?

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