THIS week’s arrest of a middle-aged man charged with grooming and assaulting a young Central West girl he met via the internet has prompted police to renew their message about the dangers of cyber space.
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While the internet allows us to access infinite information from anywhere, anytime, there lies a dark reality.
The internet can be a dangerous place for anyone – but particularly for children who can be impressionable, naive and vulnerable players navigating their way through the cyber world.
There are cases of online trolls and bullies, fraud, identity theft and even child pornography being reported right across mainstream media.
The internet is so accessible that kids are getting sucked into its around-the-clock immediacy.
The internet all too easily allows people to pose as someone or something they’re not.
Just as easily as it takes someone to create a false persona with the click of a button, can it take to lull someone into a false sense of security and fall victim to the perils of the cyber world.
Impressionable kids and teens, who can spend the lion’s share of their time behind a screen on the internet, are increasingly caught up with dangerous online crazes.
A ‘game’ that involves children choking themselves and posting results online tragically resulted in the death of a 13-year-old Brisbane boy on December 30.
The most recent online craze is seeing kids put salt and ice on their skin and recording how long they can withstand the burning. It has sadly seen some children hospitalised.
These are just two example of the dangers and power of the internet.
That is why awareness and education is more important than ever.
As a parent, you need to make your child’s online activity your business.
It’s your job to remind young people not to send pictures of themselves to anyone they don't know and not to place a full profile and picture anywhere on the internet.
And as a community, we need to educate them as best we can about the dangers associated with the internet.
The internet is a staple in most of our lives and cannot be taken for granted. We rely on it for everything from running businesses to accessing information in real time.
But we must learn how to harness its benefits while mitigating its risks.
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