The Royal Commission on Child Abuse

All of us are concerned about the abuse of children within our society.

It is therefore important to attend intently to the reports that emerge from a Royal Commission into Child Abuse.

So as to not simply focus on the shocking stories covered by the press we should be looking at the ways that our institutions can become more observant of predatory behaviours, more aware of positive pro-active steps that can be taken, and more consistent in the actioning of policies.

The Commission has released the following information this week:

On 1 October, the Sydney Morning Herald reported that the Office of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner has found that otherwise innocent photos of children, originally posted by families, account for a substantial number of images on child exploitation sites (http://www.smh.com.au/national/millions-of-social-media-photos-found-on-child-exploitation-sharing-sites-20150929-gjxe55.html)

The Commission has developed has developed a Quick Guide to games, apps and social media, which includes information on what data is made publicly available and what privacy settings are available: https://www.esafety.gov.au/esafety-information/games-apps-and-social-networking.

The Commission has advised school principals it is in the process of developing best practice guidelines for schools and other organisations around sharing photos of children online. In the meantime, it has provided the following tips for parents:

  • Be aware of who you are sharing family photos with – check your settings on Facebook and Instagram to make sure photos are only being shared with friends and people you know, and are not publicly searchable.
  • Be careful when using hashtags – when you use a hashtag you open up your photos to anyone searching that hashtag.
  • Have regular conversations with your children to find out what they are doing online, who they are talking to and who they are sharing information and photos with. Let them know the risks associated with sharing intimate photos with people they know and don’t know.
  • Make sure your children have the right privacy settings on their social media account – having a public profile opens them up to anyone and everyone with access to their personal information and photos.

We work together for the well-being of our children,

Dr Paul Burgis
Principal

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