Episode 10 - Internet Safe Education - Part 2
Episode Ten: Internet Safe Education Part 2 with Brett Lee
16th May 2017
On Tuesday 16th May an expert on child safety, Brett Lee presented the following seminar to our Years 10, 11 and 12 students about keeping safe on line. Mr Lee has an extensive career in law enforcement, having worked for the Queensland Police for many years as both an officer and a detective; as a police trainer in Iraq; with American law enforcement such as Homeland Security and the FBI; and has also spent time working for ICAC, Internet Crimes against Children. Through the company he created, Internet Education & Safety Services, Brett’s mission is to equip and educate young Australians with the skills and knowledge to enable them to use the Internet safely whilst making them aware of their rights and responsibilities in the cyber world. During this presentation he delivers a commanding message with powerful, sometimes confronting truths about cyber safety -information today’s young people need to hear.
Please note: The following presentation seminar was designed for Years 10, 11 and 12 students and is not recommended for younger listeners without parental consent.
Brett: I talk about all different sorts of topics all around the world to students, both primary, secondary and adults in relation to technological use. One thing that I don’t do is try to create an element of fear about technology. I certainly don’t try to encourage people not to use technology or not to make it part of their world. I have four kids myself aged 14 up to 22 and some of them are heavily involved in technology and I am happy for that. But I understand from my experience, and I will outline that shortly, that things need to go with that, to be able to get all of the positives out of technology and reduce risks. Today I have chosen one topic. But even though I choose one topic to speak to you about, I think that it is very important as young adults that you maybe have not looked at in a particular perspective in relation to this topic. The principles that I try to deliver are the same no matter what topic I am talking about. The principles that are imbedded in this presentation can be applied to any issue that you may be engaged in when it comes to that online world. I am not here today to encourage you not to use technology, It is exactly the opposite. I just want to give you a few things to remember. Maybe a few things to consider and think about like I said that you have never thought about that perspective before. Maybe for a lot of you, as you walk out of here, I am just confirming the things that you already know because it is easy to create an environment where by you do get all of those positives on the internet. The choices you make now do not affect the opportunities that you get when you leave this school. The internet is a positive place and most people, no matter what you see on that screen, or what you are encouraged to believe, are making sound choices online. Some adults have said to me that teenagers don’t get it, they give them a mobile phone and they have no idea, they just do the wrong thing, and I say that is absolutely not the case. I said that if every teenager in Australia was making bad choices online, the line out of the police station and the Principal’s office would be eight kilometres long every day and I am going to prove that to you today in real terms. There are a lot of misunderstandings and misconceptions when it comes to technology? We develop ideas or what we believe, just by looking at the screen and then we just imagine the rest, adults are the same. So today, I want to deliver to you, maybe something that you haven’t heard before. And I am going to say this as well, no matter what I say I am not here today to judge anybody. I am not here today to challenge your moralistic views, your ethical beliefs; I am not here today to say what is right or wrong. Do you know what this whole presentation is about? You thinking about some of these things and considering how could this affect me? How could this affect my family? How could this affect my community if I made certain choices online. Not, if we think it is right or wrong. Not, if we think it is a big deal or that I was just mucking around. About how could this affect me? And also how this could affect my family? So guys like I said I am not here to judge anybody. But I know that there will be people who feel a little bit uncomfortable by some of the things that I say. I am very unapologetic and do you know why? Because you deserve to hear the truth. I would rather you consider these things now and not when you are sitting in the Principal’s office or the police station. Not when your time at this school is over because of the choices that you made on the internet and not because you are an evil, sinister person, it’s because you are a young person and your mind was affected by the poisonous cultures on the internet. This is a very personal thing. Do you know why it’s personal? Because no-one else types those keys for you. This is totally up to you. If you sit in a police station because of what you did on the internet, it is a result of the choices that you made. So this is about you protecting yourself. What is best for me? Don’t worry about what your friends are thinking. Don’t worry about peer group pressure, I’ve got to be accepted, I’ve got to be seen to be a particular type of person. You think, what is best for me, because when you type that key, that is stuck to you for the rest of your life. So remember the messages that I have are the truth because these are the things that I have seen. It’s come from my experience and I think that you deserve to see this. I am just going to go through my background because I mean my messages are always simple and basic, it’s not difficult and for a lot of you, you already know this stuff. Why would this school bring an outsider in to pass on these messages on. I have driven up from Brisbane to speak to you today. I don’t have a teaching background. I have a law enforcement background. I have spent twenty two years in the Queensland police and for sixteen of those years I was a Detective and I have investigated everything from shoplifting up to murder and I have arrested people for those offences. But for most of my time as a Detective, I investigated adults who are looking to harm, hurt or abuse children. I was involved on the edges of the Daniel Morcombe investigation many years ago. So I do have a lot of experience when it comes to criminal investigations. I am no longer in the police force and when I left the police I had the chance to work for the United States government for a country called Iraq. Over there I was a Teacher, a Police instructor at the Iraq National Police Academy training these men from Iraq how to be Police Officers. As you guys would turn up to class with your books and your pens, my students would turn up with their machine guns. A little bit different but the same sort of concept, obviously a very dangerous classroom. Now why do I want to deliver these sorts of messages to you? It was because as a Detective I was very lucky. I got the opportunity to go to the United States and I worked for the FBI in their Undercover Internet Team. I also worked for the Department of Homeland Security at their Cybercrime Centre at Washington DC. I also worked for some local police like you have the Sunshine Coast. I worked for the San Jose Police in California. I worked for the Dallas Police in Texas at their Internet Crime Against Children Task Force. Now I am going to tell you what all of this is means. I was very fortunate in that I had the opportunity to be trained by world experts in the field of internet investigations, and that presented me with the very unique face of technology that not many people get the opportunity to see. Like I said most people put their face behind their screen. They upload their photos, they look at interesting goat videos on YouTube. They play their online games. They buy things. They do their banking online and I understand that. That’s what the internet is fantastic for. They connect and share information with friends and family. And that’s what most people use it for. But this job showed me a very different side to technology. It showed me an insight to human nature that not too many people get a chance to see. Because do you know what I worked out? The internet is very good at reading people’s minds. Sucking things out of their minds that would normally stay there. Doing and saying things online that they would never do in the physical world. It is very good at doing that. It is very good at creating illusions. So I have arrested hundreds and hundreds of people for doing nothing more, some of them students, for doing nothing more than typing the wrong keys on their keyboard in the privacy of their own home. Pushing the wrong buttons on their phone and unfortunately for them they didn’t go to cyber prison because there is no such place as cyber prison, they went to a real world prison. What an amazing analogy to prove that when I put my face behind that screen I am in a real world because I am connected to real people so nothing has actually changed. So we must never forget this. I hear you say ‘I know this stuff’ but do you know what? All of those people arrested; they would have said that they knew it as well. But when they put their face behind that screen they become victims to illusions.
The Grand Illusion; The internet plays on a human being. It makes them feel that they can have privacy in that world. Do you know what all of those criminals sitting in my police station had in common? 1. They never dreamt that they would be sitting there. 2. They were sorry and wanted to take it back. 3. They probably wouldn’t have done it in the physical world and they just did it online because of a number of reasons. And the fourth thing that they had in common is that they never would have imagined that a police officer would see it. And some of them would even say ‘Oh but you weren’t supposed to see that’. Well of course I wasn’t supposed to see it but I did. And now you have got to face consequences for it.
The illusion of privacy; Do you know what that does to adults in particular? I have adults who say ‘I deserve my privacy on the internet’ and I say ‘well that’s interesting, who told you that, where has this come from, where did you learn that?’ Have you got a contract that says that you have got privacy on the internet? You are connected to three billion people. You are in the most public place that you will ever be. If you send a photo or an email, it is not up to you if it stays private. It is up to the other person at the other end. It is up to the million different scenarios that can make, what you want to be private more than anything in the world, become public. And every one is shocked. These adults are shocked that they get called in to the boss’s office and someone has given the boss a print out of what they said about the boss last night on the internet. And that adult is shocked. And that is the same adult that says ‘I know that the internet is public’ they just don’t reflect that in the choices. Never a truer word was spoken and that’s where the internet gets people. Those people sitting in my police station believed that what they were doing on the internet was private.
I spoke at a school in Brisbane first term this year. Last year the School Captain who was 17 years of age and another student at the school were arrested at the school and expelled instantly. The School captain sent a photograph to a student at another school; a parent saw it and was so angry and infuriated because of the nature of the image that she went straight to police. She handed the phone over and the police did a forensic examination on the phone, traced it back to the student, went to the school and arrested the student on the spot. Examined his phone and found that photo had been sent to him by another student; they then went and arrested that student. Luckily that’s where the photo originated from, or at the school anyway. These things are happening I am here today because I don’t want you to go down that path just because you are a young person making choices online. Those students weren’t sinister criminals. Their mind had been poisoned by cultures on the internet to make them believe that this is what my community is about now. That it’s ok to do this. This is just funny. They didn’t rely on their wisdom, their knowledge; what they really knew about this world. That’s why some of this information today may be a little bit confronting and it’s because I think that you deserve, and are certainly mature enough, to hear these messages. It is important that you hear it now before something that may happen, that may change your life forever, may happen to you, just like those two students.
I do have a bit of an understanding of some of the pressure that you may face on the internet even though I was never a teenager with technology. It was my job for five years as a detective to go on the internet to pretend to be you. It was my job to pretend to be a teenage boy or a teenage girl on the internet and I did that for thousands of hours. So I have actually been a teenage girl on the internet. I have been on the internet longer than any teenage girl in Australia’s history. So I know what it means to be a young lady on the internet. I also know what it’s like to be a young man. I was playing online games, dozens and dozens of social networking sites; fictitious ones pretending to be a teenager. I have arrested eight-nine adult men, very dangerous criminals online, looking for young people in our community. These people are real and that’s where my messages come from. It is things that I have seen when I was pretending to be you but I want to make it more specific. I have some understanding of the pressure that you may face as you grow, through this school and when you leave this school. Those pressures would probably be different as the pressure that your parents may face on the internet. I understand. I know purely because of your age, where you are in your life, there will be people who may try and place pressures upon you to go against who you are and for different reasons. Every person in this world is different but in general some young people will experience pressures online and I understand that. But there is no way around this information; you are the one typing the keys. You have got to train yourself. Do you know where a lot of these bad choices are made? Where somebody feels they are in a very private place. You have to remember this stuff. Not just right now but you might listen to my presentation and think you know what I am getting at. That sounds perfect. That is common-sense. But do you know what? It is not now that you have to think that. It’s when you are in a position where you feel that you may make a choice that goes against who you are and who your family is. I know that most of you are on the right page and I’ll tell you why shortly. This is how I understand a little of what it means to be a young person online. I am not going to talk about technology. These are some of my kid’s social networks. (shows Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat icons on screen) I don’t use it socially. Not because I don’t agree with it but because I don’t want to. I just made the decision that I don’t need it. I have got other things to do but that is just me. Everybody has a different personality but one thing that I do want to say. If you want to be a captain of this school, if you want to make sport your career, if you want to make music, creativity or the arts your career, if you want to be a doctor, a lawyer, you want more friends than anybody else in the world, you want to be the first man on Mars, you want to be the female doctor who cures cancer, you want to be the best tradesperson, you want to be a successful businessman or businesswoman, you can achieve that without ever having a social networking site. These are added extras. Do you know what they are very good at doing? Making people believe that you want one of these. It will make you popular, it will give you friends, and it will help you achieve something. It does not do that. It is an added extra. I have never had a student say to me ‘hey I am school captain, do you know how I did it? I got an Instagram account.’ (audience laughs) I am glad that some of you think that is comical because it is comical. We know that it can’t achieve that for us. So please don’t think that whatever you want to achieve in this world you have to have one of these. I can talk about that for quite a while but I am not going to today because I have more interesting information to show you. This is your choice, these programs, do you know what they are very good at doing? Making you believe that you have to have one and then do you know what else they do? They encourage people to gather up the most valuable piece of property that they are ever going to own on the internet that is worth more than gold and that’s their personal information to give it to them more nothing so they can sell it to people in companies and make billions of dollars. We are not Instagram’s customer, we are their commodity, they use our property, personal information and why do people so readily give it to strangers on the internet when they wouldn’t hand it to strangers on the street? Because they have been made to believe that it is going to give them something. They are the ones who are going to be rewarded. Do you know who Instagram’s customer is? The people in the company that Instagram sells your information to. And they make billions of dollars and they know that it doesn’t achieve anything. Do you know how they know that? Because it is free. They can’t charge for it or they will lose half of their customers in 24 hours. So that is the place that it really plays in peoples lives. I am not saying that they are bad but I am saying that we can look at it from that perspective and then weigh it up, where does it fit in my life. I have social networking for business and someone else runs it. I don’t even run it. So it does have its uses but it needs to be managed and kept in perspective. I am going to talk for the rest of my time on this one subject.
First Term this year, I spoke to 2,200 teenagers from the ages of 15 to 18 in Years 10 to 12 at Bond University about this one subject. But this presentation was a bit different. It was the first one of this type that I have ever done. Within this presentation I had inter dispersed five polls. I had five questions for these students, just like you, from all different sorts of schools; State, Catholic, Independent, Private schools across Queensland and northern New South Wales. There were four response options for each question and they had their mobile phones in the audience. They could vote live when I put the questions up and the results were put up on the screen. I am going to show you the results and it’s all to do with sexting. Now I want to say something. I made a mistake. I have only been talking about this now for about three weeks. At the first school that I spoke to as a result of that conference, was a group of Year 10 boys and I said, here is the first question that I asked these teenagers, and here is the four choices that they could make. I said hands up if you would have chosen the first one? Do you know what they did? I think you know. They looked around to see what everyone else was voting on. They didn’t want to be left out. They didn’t want to be the only one. They wanted to be accepted. They didn’t want people to think of them in a particular way. Their answer was going to be influenced by peer group pressure, so that was useless. So I don’t do that anymore. It was pointless. I wouldn’t have had an accurate reading. When these teenagers did it they voted on their phones, it was them and their screen; other people were doing the same. No-one could see what they are voting on so this was a relatively anonymous. I said to them, I am challenging you to look within yourself, this is your opportunity to not only send a true message to your peers but to the entire community including parents and your school community as to who you really are inside. Not being influenced by what other people think, so this is your opportunity to tell the community who you are inside. You are going to see the results of these polls and I have two open ended questions. I am going to show you what they were and I will tell you what the most common answers were.
But first of all what is sexting? It is distribution of a sexually explicit image from one user to another user or a seed of the same via information communication and technology. Just like sending a naked photo of yourself over the internet or receiving it. Both of those people are involved in the practice of sexting.
This is the first poll question:
How common do you believe sexting is amongst your group?
The winning response: It would be surprising to me if any of my friends are involved.
The next time someone says to you, particularly someone online ‘everybody does this’, ‘this is just what we do now’; ‘this is part of being in a relationship’. You know that they are lying, they are not telling you that to help you, they are telling you that to get what they want. Most young people, teenagers in our community don’t do it. And when you don’t, you are trusting your instincts, you are trusting who you are and you’re in the majority. This answer would have been from teenagers with virtually no education on this subject. These are qualities that they have absorbed from the community that they have live in, so much so, that most of their friends don’t do it.
Look at the second most popular response:
I know that some of my peer group get involved, but only a few.
In our community we can have whatever laws that we want. There are people who get all of the information yet they still choose to make bad choices. They are usually the people in prison but they represent an extremely small percentage of our community. Most people don’t do this, technology has changed nothing. Yes, we can do it, but it doesn’t mean that it’s best for me. So we have got to think ‘what if this photo got out?’ ‘Why am I doing this?’ ‘Is this really who my community is?’
Most young people don’t do it. They had no reason to vote like that because they were doing it themselves. What can make it illegal? 189 students just like you in Queensland alone last year were arrested for one or more of some of the most serious federal criminal offences that we have. This is a definition from the federal criminal code and I have summarised it. It is a picture or video that shows the person who is or appears to be under 18 and that material is sexual explicit or used for sexual reasons. It is a federal criminal offence to have it. If you have a photograph on your device and it shows a person who is under 18 and it doesn’t matter who it is, it’s sexually explicit, or it’s used for sexual purposes, you can be arrested for it. That’s how our community looks upon it. Our community has decided it is not natural, it is dangerous and it is illegal. People go to prison for having these photographs. So it is illegal if those pictures or videos depict people under the age of 17. It doesn’t matter if you are 10, 12, 15, 16, 18, 21, 37, 49, 52, 63, 71. You can be arrested for having this material. It is highly illegal and it always has been before the internet came along. And do you know why? Because these offences weren’t invented for you. Young people aren’t doing this to harm children. This was invented for adults who would abuse children, photograph it and video it and then use it to black mail the child, or to sell it, or to trade it. That’s why it is so serious and the laws haven’t changed so it’s against the law to have it, or to distribute it or to post it or send it. It is a federal criminal offence and like I said, when does it get people? When they least expect it. Do you know that there is one safe way to do this? To never do it. To never have anything to do with this. So we have got to trust what we know is right or wrong in this community. Do you know when this will be acceptable and normal? When you are prepared to print a naked photograph of yourself and put it on the school notice board and think nothing of it. And other people will walk past, teachers, parents and students and they see your naked photo on the school noticeboard and go oh yeah that’s such-and-such. That’s when it will be just what people do. Now I don’t think that we are quite to that stage yet. So if I said hey print a naked photograph of yourself and put it on the school noticeboard, do you know what the first response is going to be? It’s going to be why? That’s what the response is going to be. Do you know what this is? People who generally engage in this, it’s not that they are intelligent; it’s not that they are bad people; they just have never thought it through. They have never stepped it through. All of their ideas and influences come from technology and that’s not there to protect you. It’s those people around you in the physical world that are the ones that want the best for you.
This is my second poll question:
Should sexting be illegal as it relates to teenagers?
Winning response by far is: It needs to be illegal, it’s serious.
Again these young people with virtually no education in relation to this understand what this really means. They are saying to me, look whether I do it or not I should be arrested if I get involved because this is serious. Most teenagers think like that.
And look at the next most popular response:
It may depend on the circumstances.
I know exactly what they are meaning there. They are thinking well maybe if the people involved are 16 or up, maybe they are in a relationship and it’s consensual, there is no threats, there is no pressure, and they send the photographs. Maybe that should be ok. Maybe we are going to get to a stage in a community where it is going to be separated from the child sex offenders because if a 14 year old gets arrested for possession of that child exploitation material on their police record for the rest of their life they will be listed as a child sex offender for having that photograph at 14 years of age. So they are saying why shouldn’t we be put in that category. I don’t think that they should. What is happening at this stage is when young people get arrested for dealing with this sort of material, they are sitting in the police station and saying, hang on I didn’t do this to hurt anybody. It’s not a big deal, it is just a photograph. It is just me and my girlfriend or me and my boyfriend. Why is it such a big deal? Do you know what the police are going to say? We don’t have to prove why you have got it, we just have to prove that you have it. So the reason isn’t even taken into account as it stands now. So they are saying that it may depend on the circumstances but I think that it will always be against the law. Why? Because it is serious and it can destroy people’s lives. Because that person that you are in a relationship now, maybe you will not be in a relationship next week, maybe next month , maybe in a year, maybe in two years, maybe in five years. They have got that photo on their phone, they have total control over the most private and personal thing that you may ever have in your life. They have total control over that for the rest of your life. There is no safe way to deal with this material or engage in this practice. And remember this isn’t to be anti-technology. This is you sitting there thinking how could this affect me if it did get out? What if I was in a relationship I don’t ever imagine is going to end, but what if it did and that person has got it, at least I am going to have a little bit of concern or anxiety or worry about what’s happening to it. So no good is going to come from this. That is what I believe anyway.
I then asked them an open ended question.
I believe teenagers may engage in sexting because….
And this is what the teenagers said. Do you know what all of these are guys? They are things that they want to get. They are feeling that I am going to get something out of this.
- They do it.
- Everybody does it. - We know that everybody doesn’t do it. But they are being tricked by poisonous cultures into thinking that people do. So because everybody is doing it I am just doing the same as everybody else so it will be ok.
-I don’t know it is just what you do. - They have no reason to not to get involved in it. They haven’t heard one message that would give them a reason not to. That’s a lack of education. They usually do it to get something out of it themselves. Usually they are pressuring you to do this. If the pressure is coming from yourself, that pressure is not to help you out. That pressure is serving itself. And so is that other person.
So this shows that young people are not doing it to harm others, they are not doing it to be bad. For some reason or other they have been told that they are going to, or that the think they are going to get something out of it. So that is why they do it.
The third poll question:
How do you think your parents would react if you became involved in sexting?
Here we go again. I was guilty of underestimating the internal qualities of our younger community. Seeing these results when they came up on the screen in real time I was speechless, I couldn’t even talk for a while. In particular the first one, I imagined that at least it would be 50-50. So these are awesome results to me. Most young people have enough faith in their family unit that they know they can put enough trust in their parents and they respect you enough that you could have a conversation with them.
See this comment here ‘they would freak out and over react.’ That’s what my kids would have voted on and they are right I would have. That’s why my wife handles these sorts of things if they happen and it hasn’t happened but that’s why she would handle it. I think that everyone here has one person in their life that they trust and respect and feel comfortable enough that if they felt uncomfortable with this and they have done it and it was scaring them as to what is going to happen, that they could go and talk to that person about it because something can always be done to help. No matter what you have done online now or in the future something can be done to help and it usually starts with a conversation.
This is the second open ended question:
What is one thing that you could think of that would stop you from sexting;
There were two clear winners. The second winner was:
- I wouldn’t want a criminal history.
That is why it needs to be illegal. That one thing, knowing that it is serious in our community ticks a box and gives a reason not to get involved in it. We can’t let it be optional because you know what they will say: it is not such a big deal I’m just going to do it. It’s the consequences that we need to think about. And I am just talking about the criminal considerations. What if students from another school got it? And decided for whatever reason to destroy your life with those images? There is like I said no safe way to do this. I believe that it has to be illegal. The categories need to be separated though to look at why someone was doing it. Other circumstances; the seriousness of it. But it does need to be serious.
The winning response to: What is one thing that you could think of that would stop you from sexting; was:
-They didn’t want to disappoint or upset their family or their parents.
A Survey done over ten years in England finished recently with a whole range of different topics surveying tens of thousands of teenagers. They found with every topic the main reason that young people had to make good choices was that they didn’t want to disappoint those people that they respected. Quite often it was their family unit. So we need to draw on that. If we believe that the internet is private we may never have a reason to consider that my parents could see it. That it’s impossible because it is private. So if we can fully embrace that the internet is public and that anybody can see it including your parents then that could be another reason to not do this when the pressure gets put on.
I am going to go through a real world analogy. If you are not convinced that it is not good for you to send sexual explicit images of yourself or receive them. Just imagine that you are in the Queen Street Mall in Brisbane on a Saturday, it’s lunch time with hundreds of people around and you’re standing in the middle looking through the crowd to find somewhere to eat. You are walking through the crowd and you are pushing through, you see someone you like and you take all of your clothes off. Or that person says to you ‘hey, you, take all of your clothes off’ and you say ‘ok’, so you take all of your clothes off.
Now I can tell by your reactions and some people’s body language changed a little bit and some people laughed. I understand that. Some are a bit confused. I made eye contact with a few people. It’s embarrassing and some people are saying stop talking, that’s ridiculous. And you know guys I am just talking about it. You have told me from your response that you would never do that, you would think, why would I do that, I mean I could embarrass myself. I could get into trouble. I could put people off their food. I would never do that. That photo would look different wouldn’t it? You would be standing in the middle and there would be a big ring of bitumen around you. You wouldn’t walk past someone and go ‘oh wow there is another naked person, what am I having for lunch?’ they would be straight on their phones to police. After they videoed it and put it on YouTube of course. If I was walking the beat in the mall and I got that call over the radio I’d would run there with my partner and I would have to arrest that person because it is against the law. You are not allowed to do that. That is called willful exposure. It’s only a simple offence and you are not hurting anybody but it’s called wilful exposure. So I would arrest that person but I wouldn’t have to take that person to the police station. I would take them to a hospital because there must be something wrong with them. You just don’t do that.
When people send naked photographs of themselves over the internet that is exactly what they are doing they have just never looked at it in that way. They feel that the illusion of privacy and that control and trust of what’s going to happen with it because they are getting what is the most private thing in their life and they are putting it into a community, potentially 3 billion people. They have no control over that for the rest of their lives. It is exactly the same so just looking at it from the perspective I usually don’t talk to young people about this I might mention this to parents tonight maybe. Sexting was around when I was growing up. The problem was that we had to take the film down to the chemist to get developed before we could mail the photograph to the other person. You are laughing and yes it is ridiculous. That’s why people didn’t do it. We had social indicators. We actually had to take time. It would cost money and it could be embarrassing and those things were real to us. Now you have this black box. 24 hours a day, you can create an image in a split second without thinking it through and share it with your closest 3 billion friends in another spilt second without thinking it through. No wonder some people’s, no wonder some adult’s minds are being poisoned to do it just because they can and they don’t get the opportunity to see it through, to see what it really is and to step it through. So guys I hope that I have helped today by making you think. ‘I have had that pressure put on, I have nearly sent one, it will finish the pressure.’ Or they have sent me one, I want to send them one, I want to be accepted by this group. Everyone is doing it so that is ok. I want to feel that I want to be more mature. Maybe there is something now sitting in the back in the back of your mind. If that person really did care about me then why would they want to, or why would they expect me to put myself in the position.
The last poll;
What is the likelihood that you would be involved in sexting?
Response: There is almost no chance that I would get involved.
There is always going to be people who do this but they are always going to be in the vast minority. I would hate to think that had someone received the right information, they wouldn’t have got involved. You have the people who will do the wrong thing even though they know where they stand. You have the people who do know where they stand and make a good choice to protect themselves. But then you have the people who probably haven’t been given a good enough reason yet to know why not to do it. Perhaps this information has made you think about it in a different way. The questions to ask yourself with any topic on the internet; why am I doing this; is this really who I am; how could this affect me and family, my community and my future if it became public.
I can guarantee you that if you want to follow a path, an exclusive path such as sport, or the arts, the choices that you are making now can determine the opportunities that you get in the future. Organisations, companies and brands do not tolerate bad choices online because that is a reflection on their company and they will not associate themselves with those sorts of people. Every good choice that you make now, you are rewarding yourself for the rest of your life. There is an Australian swimmer, an amazing person in our community has given back to the community many times over with what they have achieved. They’ve won Olympic gold medals, sent a message through a micro blogging site called twitter and put one word in there that cost her 2 million dollars in sponsorship deals. It literally chipped away at her self-esteem. She would cry uncontrollably and it affected her life and she didn’t do it because she believed in what she was saying, she wasn’t referring to some particular minority group but a few people got offended by it and it was all across the papers and she couldn’t undo that. It was swimmer Stephanie Rice, she is an amazing person, she had people come forward and say that is not who she is. She didn’t mean that but it was misinterpreted by the public. At the end of the day she lost those opportunities. She has given back so much. A great person. So no one is suggesting that because of those bad choices you make you are not a good person. The choices that we make can affect opportunities if the community gets access to it.
Now a very quick bit of advice; when I was speaking to those students on the Gold Coast I said to them that they could type in questions at the end. Some of them would be put up on the screen and I would pick one out. Do you know that they had dozens and dozens and dozens and dozens of questions after the presentation? There will always be questions about this but go back to the basics. If there is something that you are not sure of you, can research it, talk to someone who you think may know. But here is some basic advice. Something can always be done no matter what it is. Nobody in your life who cares about you expects you to keep it to yourself. These are serious issues. So what we do is that we use the same people in the physical world that we would use if we had a big problem in the physical world. We would go them.
*If you get one of these sent to you by somebody and it arrives on your device you delete it immediately.
*If you don’t know who that user is, you block and delete them.
*If you do know who it is maybe you just want to delete it, if they send you another one this is the price that we pay for using technology and we have to step up the maturity level and we need to have a conversation with them. If you want to remain connected to them, to keep them in your life you have to talk to them. Say hey man, don’t send me that stuff. If someone finds this stuff on my phone my life is gone. I am not going to accept it from you because I don’t want you to go down that path either. So I am looking out for you, don’t send me that stuff, it’s not right, I don’t need it. If they continue to pressure you or send you that sort of content you have to start to question ‘why doesn’t my friend respect my wishes?’ surely they can respect the fact that I have asked them not to send me those photos, they don’t have to. It’s their choice. So you will have to question that and maybe you feel that you need to block them in a social sense and talk to them about that. Maybe you move on. If you think that the person that is depicted in the images is a vulnerable person, maybe it’s one of your friends, or you think that they are putting themselves in a position of danger, you need to talk to someone about that. There will be times where you feel that you need to be transparent about this and show someone this image if you think that it is that serious. If you have sent these, then talk to people and say that you shouldn’t have sent those and ask them to delete it. If they are your friends they will say, no problems. If it has gone out into cyber space then you probably can’t get it back.
*If it is in one of your accounts, delete the account and delete the photograph. If it is on your device delete it. I always recommend block, delete, and have a conversation. Never copy it, never print it, never forward it, never rename it, never deal with it on your device like move it around into different folders or whatever even if the folder is called ‘delete later’ so that shows knowledge and control. You have control of a legal material and you will probably be arrested for that. The best thing to do is delete it. If multiple copies are coming in and you feel that you are losing control you need to report it to somebody. But remember something can always be done to help. There are just some general bits of advice so we go back to blocking people, deleting the material and having a conversation. I don’t think that if you can show that you have made your choices based on good faith that you will ever have a problem. Guys there are going to be people online and in the media that are going to try and trivialise this where some people think that this is just funny. I have seen young people sitting in police stations but they weren’t laughing then because their lives have changed forever and they never imagined it would be them sitting there. The best thing to do is just stay away from this stuff. If you have been involved in it then maybe you feel that you need to have a conversation. Unfortunately, it is all not good news because if you have sent them to people that you don’t know, you will never ever get them back. They are out there for the rest of your life. I have to say that and if you feel uncomfortable about anything that I have spoken about today go and talk to a trusted person. But if you can do those things that I suggested then you are reducing the risk right down to nearly zero. But something can always be done to help; talk to people is the best solution. Thank you very much stay seated I believe that your Principal is going to dismiss you. Good luck for the rest of the year particularly Year 12s and thank you.
Tracy: We hope you found Brett Lee’s seminar informative and beneficial.
If you would like to know more about this topic or email a question, go to the “Internet Education and Safety Services” website at:
This podcast was produced by Tracy Burton featuring music by Paul Cusick.
Thanks for listening.