Confident, capable, connected, caring

01 Feb 2019

His mission is to help people of all ages stay safe online, to teach people how to navigate the internet, social media and other digital platforms with confidence, how to stay connected and be savvy, how to move through cyberspace with ease.

On Wednesday 30 January, cyber safety educator John Parsons visited College to talk to Year 9 students about staying safe in the digital world. In a compelling, interactive and thought-provoking session, using real life examples and offering plenty of practical advice, John outlined the risks and how to manage them. “You have one identity, expressed both online and offline. The internet is just an extension of the one world in which we all live. When you go online you’re communicating with potentially thousands of people and some of them may want to cause you harm. You need to be aware of that and think about how you present yourself, think about the messages you broadcast, because internet harm happens and has repercussions in the real world.”

John pointed out that a digital footprint can be an asset or a liability and it is up to each individual to manage and value their identity, curate content and interact online with care – and if or when mistakes happen, have the courage to seek help.

John’s key messages include:

  • do not accept strangers as friends
  • do not share personal information with strangers
  • do not send or share personal or explicit images or messages (even with a friend)
  • do not retaliate or respond, or inflame an online conflict
  • if concerned, disconnect, gather evidence and talk to a trusted adult
  • always ask permission to take photographs and never post photographs online without having received permission to do so

While the digital world has its place, John reminded the boys that making connections in the real world, having respect, compassion and empathy is what is really important. “We all have the capacity to feel for others. Stand next to each other, stand up for each other, look out for each other, look after each other. I dare you to care.”

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