Cyber Safety Advice for Parents Blog

Children sharing inappropriate images can have harmful consequences !!

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Sharing images Pixabay

 

Today we would like to discuss, how harmful it can be for children to share inappropriate images of themselves, with others when using their devices. Incredibly we have found that children in Irish Primary Schools in 5th and 6th class, are very aware of this behaviour. What some children can believe is a just a funny image or photo of themselves, can have really serious long negative effects if shared with others.

Many children have been supplied with a device and never given Ground Rules for its use. It can be difficult for children to fully comprehend, that what they are putting up online is very difficult to remove. A shared image could remain online forever. They don’t realise that something they post online now, may impact them for the rest of their lives.

Children will always push the boundaries of what is acceptable, if not given guidance. We all did it growing up ourselves. Even looking back at when we were young ,every one of us may have done something that we regretted, but we are happy in the knowledge that there is no permanent record there, for the entire plant to see. Our children do not have that privilege any more. Especially if what their doing is put up online.

Children will act out of impulse. This video produced by the ISPCC in the UK called “I your willy”, is an excellent teaching aid. We use this video ourselves when presenting to children in 5th and 6th class in National Schools. The video delivers a message very young children can understand in a very age appropriate and visual way to help them comprehend the meaning of the message that is being delivered.

The video shows two young boys messing around with their devices, one suggests that it might be fun to take a picture of the other boy and send it to a girl. You know the way you can send the image on one of those Apps where the image disappears, like Snapchat for instance. Once they take the image, it is forwarded to a girl who finds the image funny. She then shares the image on to others, who share it on and it reaches a whole host of people who it was never intended for.

It is only by explaining to you child that there are rules around taking and sending of images, will they understand what is acceptable and what is not. Children should be taught this from a very young age, if you are permitting access to a digital device. Never think to yourself, well I don’t need to, because my child would never do such a thing. You can never second guess your child when it comes to their activity online.

You have to think of the online world as the equivalent of the Wild West. This online town does not have a sheriff. There is nobody looking over the child’s shoulder to tell them “Hey man, what you’re doing there, that doesn’t look like a good idea”. A child will act impulsively online. They will generally have no concept of how the online world operates.

We would suggest that you to sit down and watch the video together. Then discuss the following –

  • If your taking an image, it should only be one that you would be happy for your parents or your Grandparents to see

  • Always ask for someone’s permission before you take an image of them or post it online

  • Never take an image of yourself that is in any way inappropriate

  • Never share an inappropriate image with others

  • If someone ever shares an inappropriate image with you, tell your parents immediately

  • If someone ever asks you for an inappropriate image, tell your parents immediately

  • Explain that, just like in the cartoon, an image that is shared can go world-wide in a very short period of time

  • It can reach people it was never intended for

  • It can be very difficult to remove once online

  • It can lead to unsolicited contact from strangers

  • It may be out there for the rest of their lives

  • If a child suggests to you that these images disappear. This is not true. The image can be screen grabbed. There are plenty of Free Apps available that can capture the image without the sender being notified.  Another device can be used to take a picture of the image on the receiving device

  • It is also important that inappropriate images of persons under the age of 18 years like the one taken in the video can be illegal, as they could be classes as Child Pornography, more correctly termed Child Exploitation material

  • We would also ask that if your child is ever asked for an image or receives an image that it be brought to the attention of the relevant authorities. Very often people who engage in this type of behaviour are permitted to continue because nobody notifies anybody that it is happening

  • You child may discover that your child has already shared an image. If so do not chastise the child as you would only re-victimize the child. Seek help from those who can address the child immediate needs

We hope that you find this great little video and tips for starting the conversation with your child helpful. If you did please SHARE the post with other parents.

Have a great day folks !

Team @COTDAge

 

 

 

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