John Parsons talks about Cyber Safety

 

Nothing ever goes away once it is posted online. Is it right to follow someone on Instagram without knowing who they are? No.

John Parsons came to speak to all students today about cyber safety. He works alongside police to help children who have been abused online through digital networks like social media and support their families.

John Parsons is the author of ‘Keeping Your Children Safe Online’. We learnt that we need to keep ourselves safe online. We don’t need to be a people pleaser and accept everyone’s ‘friend request’. If we don’t know who that person is, it is okay to decline their request. John advised us that we should never ignore our gut feeling and we have our parents and teachers to speak to if something goes wrong online. He talked about real-life events in regards to cyber safety that led to serious consequences that affected relationships and mental well-being. It was very hard to listen about the affected people. This taught us why we should always be aware of others and trust our gut for a safe experience.

John Parsons brings an unparalleled wealth of direct experience to this issue. He has used this develop a toolbox of highly practical, realistic and effective strategies that enable teachers, children and their parents to deal with the challenges of digital technology, such as maintaining oversight of your child in the digital world, establishing boundaries for acceptable use, and preventing online sexual predation, cyber bullying, and cyber-crime.

Another bit of advice was not to post photos online that were taken in PJs, in the bedroom or in the bathroom. The best profile photo would be one taken with family or a group of friends. Sometimes, as teenagers, we can get carried away with social media and we become disconnected with our core self. We end up having an ‘online personality’ on top of our true selves.

Our parents can get lost in the cyber world too, chatting or browsing online and Mr Parsons spoke about using our voice to let them know we want to spend more time with them in person, in the real world.

It was a very educational experience that we hope will help everyone, because we will be a lot safer if we understand the consequences of our actions, especially online. It is important to stay safe online and being secure and protected from people we do not know.

To conclude his talk, John Parsons left us with an important message:

‘That we are all loved.’

Sydney Causer and Lorenzo Cruz