Episode 9 Internet Safe Education Part 1
Episode Nine: Internet Safe Education Part 1
with BRETT LEE
16th May 2017
On Tuesday the 16th May an expert on child safety, Brett Lee presented the following seminar to our Years 7, 8 and 9 students about keeping safe on line. Mr Lee has an extensive career in law enforcement having worked for the Queensland police service for many years as both an Officer and a Detective working specifically in this field. Through the company that he created, Internet Education and Safety Services, Brett’s’ mission is to equip and educate young Australians with the skills and knowledge that will 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 a powerful, sometimes confronting truth about cyber safety; information today’s young people need to hear. Please note that the following seminar was designed for Years 7, 8 and 9 students and is not recommended for younger listeners without parental consent.
Brett: Now, before I get into the presentation I am going to go through my background so you know who is exactly delivering these messages to you and the perspective that this is being delivered from. There are a couple of things that I would like to outline to you about how this presentation will proceed. I have been doing this for ten years and do over 450 presentations every year and I go to over 120 schools all around the world and I speak predominately about how you are able to be part of an online world now and for the rest of your life and make sure that you reduce the risk that you may go down a path that you don’t want to go down simply because you typed a few wrong keys; you pushed a few wrong buttons; you swiped maybe in a way that’s not healthy for you, your family or I suppose your future. That’s all that today is about. I have four kids myself aged 14 to 22 and I have a lot of experience when it comes to technology. But even though I have seen some of the darker sinister corners of people’s minds when they are part of the online world, I still know that the internet can be the safest, most fun, most educational and productive place that you will ever be in your life. This presentation is not about encouraging people not to use technology. It’s exactly the opposite. It’s about being able to create a safe world for you whereby you can have fun, you can increase your self-esteem, you can increase your opportunities and do so in such a way that you reduce risk. But you know what, when you walk out of this room you can do whatever you want on the internet. If you want to make bad choices you can, anybody can, I can do that. This is about you having a reason yourself to know, why you make sound choices online, the rewards that you receive when you make those choices. My messages today do not stop people from using technology if you choose to take this advice it can help you to be part of that online world. But like I said you are going to be the one that types those keys. I am here today for one person, I am here for you. I am not here for your friends, I am not here for your Teachers and I’m not here for your family. I am here for you because when you are behind that screen you’re the one that’s going to make those choices. If you go against your instincts, if you don’t rely on your knowledge or your wisdom and you make choices online that aren’t consistent with who you really are in this world, it’s not consistent with what your world or family is all about; if you make those choices, you are the one that’s going to have to face those consequences. It is simple to have a good time on the internet but there are things that need to be put in place, there are things we need to remember. So guys don’t over complicate this, this is simple. It’s not about encouraging people not to use technology, it’s exactly the opposite. So as we go through, you pull out one or two of these main messages that you think may apply to you. You don’t have to talk to anyone else about it because the internet exists in one place, it exists here. Every experience that you will have on the internet exists right here. So you are the one that benefits and you are the one that faces consequences as a result of the choices that you make online. And there is something else that I want to say. I am not here today to tell you what you want to hear. I am not going to say that you are going to like everything that you hear from me but I guarantee one thing; it’s the truth, because my messages don’t come from just uploading photos on a screen. It doesn’t come from just playing a game on the internet. Everybody in our community can do that. My messages to you come from my vast experience of being part of an online world, of seeing the face of technology that not too many people get a chance to see, and I outline that right now.
So why would the School bring me in to pass on these simple basic messages to you? Things to do with technology are a subject that a lot of you already know a lot about. I don’t have a teaching background and I was never a Teacher. I’ve got what you would call a law enforcement background as I have spent twenty two years in the police and for sixteen of those years I was a Detective and I’ve investigated everything from shop lifting, up to murder, and I have arrested people for those offences. But for most of my time as a Detective I have investigated adults who are looking to harm, hurt and abuse, or commit offences against young people from our community. Now, I am no longer in the Police. When I left the police I had the chance to work with the United States government in a country called Iraq and over there I was a Teacher. I was a Teacher at the Iraq Police Academy training men from Iraq to be Police Officers. So, like you might turn up to your class with your books and your pens, my students would turn up with their machine guns. So, a little bit different, but the same sort of concept but obviously a very dangerous classroom. My messages are not how to use technology, you are going to learn that yourself, some of you can use it better than me. My messages have got nothing to do with technology; it’s got to do with how we think when we are part of that online world.
As a Detective I was very lucky to have had the opportunity to go to the United States and I worked with the FBI in their undercover internet team. I also worked for the Department of the Homeland Security at their cyber-crime centre in Washington DC. I also worked for some local police in the United States, the San Jose City Police in California and also the Dallas Police in Texas at their Internet Crimes against Children Taskforce. I had the opportunity to be trained by world experts in the field of internet investigations and that presented me with a very unique face of technology, that not many people get a chance to see. We see what we see on the screen in front of us. It also caused me to consider some things that not many people generally need to consider. I have arrested hundreds and hundreds of people, some of them students, for doing nothing more than typing the wrong keys on the keyboard in the privacy in their own home, pushing the wrong buttons on their smart phone whether they were social networking or gaming. A lot of those people committed offences because they made bad choices. Some of them, the more serious ones, went to prison but they didn’t go to cyber prison because there is no such place as a cyber prison, they went to a physical world prison. Now that in itself is an incredible analogy that a lot of adults out there, have not really considered that when they put their face behind a screen they are not in a cyber world they are in the real world because they are connected to people who are as real as the people who might walk around the community every day so why would anything change? I would arrest people for typing keys in their home and they would go to a physical world prison. Now, that analogy in itself proves that the internet is just as real as the world that we walk around in every day. And do you know what you do very well? You draw on all of those social indicators. You know what is expected in the physical world. You know what the consequences may be for making bad choices. You know what yours and other people’s responsibilities are and you use that to make good choices out there. Some people, when they put that face behind that screen they are tricked by technology in thinking ‘I can become a different person’, ‘I’ve got more rights and other people have less rights’, ‘I know that I wouldn’t say this to someone’s face but it’s ok to say it on the internet’. Those people are wrong! No matter how much they want it because, you know those people sitting in my police station they all had a few things in common:
1. They would have never imagined it would be them sitting there. They thought that they were special on the internet. These bad things only happen to other people.
2. Do you know what the other thing was that they had in common? They never imagined that a police officer would see what they were doing.
They fell victim to the grand illusion that the internet plays on a human being and it will try and convince you that you will have privacy in that world. And do you know how well it does that? Some would say to me “oh but I deserve my privacy on the internet”. And I would say “oh really who told you that? Where’s that written down? Have you got a contract saying that you deserve privacy on the internet? You are connected to almost three billion people! You are in the most public place that you will ever be. It’s not up to you if something stays private.” I can send an email to my closest friend and say don’t show this to anybody it’s very private. I can’t stop them from copying it, putting it on the internet, forwarding it, sending it to someone, printing it out and giving it to someone. It’s not my choice to make it stay private. Do you know what those adults are saying? “But I wanted It to be private, I thought it was private, I imagined it was private, I wanted it to be private, I’ve been promised that it was private, it felt private, I demanded that it was private.” Every single one of those sitting in the police station thought that the internet could give them privacy but that’s how little they knew about technology. They were in the most public place. They shouldn’t have been shocked that a police officer saw it. They should have known that that was possible, whether they imagined it or not. Do you know that most adults out there operate like that? There is going to be adults out there on the Sunshine Coast today that get assaulted, lose their job or go to prison because of their choices that they made on the internet and they are going to be shocked when the police are going to be knocking on their door at 9 o’clock tonight with a search warrant. You don’t have to go down that path. You can be smarter than that. And not just know that the internet is public, believe it when you make your choices. And how are you going to do that?
Am I prepared for my parents to see this?
Am I prepared for someone else’s parents to see this?
Am I prepared for every student at this school to see this?
Am I prepared for every student at another school to see this?
Am I prepared for the Principal to see this?
No? Well I am just not going to do it. Do you know something else? Those people weren’t sitting at the police station because of what they didn’t do on the internet. It’s because of what they did do. They went against their instincts. It’s because they knew what they were doing wasn’t right. There is nothing that has to be done on the internet. That’s going to be your choice. You do not have to make that choice. So the internet is obviously public. The internet of course is permanent. Every choice that you have ever made is on the internet. It’s a record out there and someone else has got it. They have total control of that with the rest of your lives whether you can imagine that or not. These are the principles about the truth of technology and you need to burn it into the back of your mind when it comes to making choices online. Every time, when you trust wisdom, instinct and knowledge and you fall into line with what you know is right, you are rewarding yourself. The rewards are that you never have to face stress or anxiety over facing issues because of your choices online. So guys, this is how easy this presentation is today. So like I said you can go out there and do the wrong thing. You are the one typing the keys; I just want you to know where you stand. Give you one or two more things to consider that maybe you never considered before. Maybe it just makes it real. You may have thought you have heard that its public but you have made some choices online where you thought that only your friends would see it; Only people your own age; Only one person would see it. You have been tricked my technology. And do you know what all of those people in my police station have in common? They would have given anything in this world to take it back. Most of them said that this isn’t really who I am. What I did online isn’t a true representation of who I am. I just thought that I was in this private place. I never imagined that someone would be offended or make a complaint. Can I please take it back? And unfortunately the answer is no. And do you know what I believe? When young people like yourself or young adults like yourself, making choices online; if you make bad choices you don’t do it because you are evil and sinister criminals, you do it because you are young people and that’s why you make these choices. The problem is it’s our community who judges us and they judge people very harshly. So I want you, where you can, to know that I’ve just got to trust who I am. I am not going to trick the internet into thinking that it can give me things and make me somebody that I can’t get from the physical world because it is very good at creating those illusions. I am going to talk about some of those, so you can sort of talk about what’s going on here, why do I need to give the world my information, do I really get anything out of that? Why do they want it. Why does the internet want me to put all of my information there? So I am going to talk about some of these things because you know what? Those genius’s that you are going to be connected to on the internet they are not going to tell you these things. Everybody is there for themselves on the internet. Those companies aren’t going to tell you these things because why? They are going to make less money. So I am going to tell you these things whether you want to take it or not that’s totally up to you. But I think that you deserve to hear these words.
There is another reason why the school brings me in because I do have a bit of an understanding of what it means to be an Teacher on the internet although I was never a teenager on the internet but I do have a bit of the understanding of the pressures that you may face from cultures and people on the internet as you grow through this school. They are going to try and put pressure on, for you to make choices that, you know, at the end of the day, are probably not the best for you and your family. Do you know who else is going to place those pressures upon you? Maybe yourself. As a young person growing up, maybe you get curious in certain areas. Maybe there are things that you wonder about. Maybe you want to be, or you want to feel more mature than what you feel you are at the moment. You may find yourself putting pressure on you to make choices to be that person. The problem is it doesn’t give people that. It is an illusion. So I am going to talk about that as well. And the reason that I understand that with young people that you will face pressures online is that for 5 years as a Detective it was my job to go on the internet and to pretend to be you. It was my job to be a teenage boy or a teenage girl on the internet and I did that for thousands of hours. I have been a teenage girl on the internet longer than any other teenage girl in Australia’s history so I know what it’s like to be a young lady on the internet. I also know what it’s like to be a young man of course. I have had dozens and dozens of social networking sites pretending to be a teenager and they are all the same. I have played those online games for many thousands of hours. I have used those communication programs, both the private ones, well we think they are private, and the public communication programs. And this is where all my messages come from, from things that I have actually seen myself on the internet. This is the truth. I am not saying that you are going to like it and I am not here, I suppose, just so you can hear exactly what you want. But I think that you deserve to hear the truth because there is a lot of misconceptions and misunderstandings when it comes to using technology. So I am not here to judge anybody. If I say something that makes you feel a little bit uncomfortable I am unapologetic. You need to hear these things. That was my job for many years. That was where my messages come from. Here are some of the programs that I would use on a day to day basis. Now some of them are old and some of them don’t exist anymore and some of them definitely aren’t popular. I mean we have our popular micro-social networking programs at the moment Instagram, Snapchat but you know what, these programs aren’t new, they’re not different. Programs like this have been around for twenty years and they only do one thing. It is the most basic piece of software ever invented. All that they do is connect you with other people so you can share information. They do nothing else. And do you know what? If you have got an Instagram account you are not Instagram’s customer. A customer is someone who pays for a product. Instagram doesn’t even know you. You are not even a real person to them. You are data on a screen that they use to make billions of dollars. Do you know who Instagram’s customer is? The people and the companies who pay Instagram who Instagram sells your information to. That is who Instagram’s customer is. Does this make them bad? No, but it makes them who they are. They are a company and they exist for one reason. To make money, as much money as they can. How much money do we pay for this? Zero. Do you know why they charge zero? Because they can’t charge one dollar. They know their program at the end of the day has no value and achieves nothing for anybody in general in the world and they know that. So how do they operate? How do they make all of these billions of dollars? Do you know what they are very good at? Making people believe that they have to have one of these and that it will make you somebody and it will make you popular and give you lots of friends. They know it can’t do that but what they do very effectively is encourage you to gather up the most valuable piece of property that you will ever know on the internet that’s worth more than gold and that’s your personal information and give it to them for nothing so they can sell it and make billions of dollars. And do you know why people do it? Because they promise people if you do this you will make friends. You will be popular. It will help you achieve something. Guys, when we put all of our information up there they promise that we are the ones that are going to get something. We are not, we are the last person. It’s everybody else. Do you know when we connect with other people on the internet that we have never met, they have no reason to do the right thing with your information. They are not there to use our information to make us feel good; they are there to use it for their own purposes. Am I saying never use these programs? No. But I am saying know where you stand. I have never had a student come up to me and say ‘I’ve just made this state junior rugby team. Do you know how I did it? I got an Instagram account.’ I have never had a student say ‘I am dux of the school and do you know how I did it? I got a Snapchat account and I got 1500 followers.’ We know that they achieve nothing. Why do I talk like this? Don’t feel that you have to have one of these to achieve whatever you want in this world. You can achieve anything without ever having one of these programs. So they are an optional extra. Do you know what I hear from a lot of young people; particularly the ones who feel that they need to connect with strangers who add no value to their life and then put all of their information up there? I don’t hear how happy they are using that program. A lot of the times I hear some of the issues that have been created by other people, people who aren’t their friends, people who aren’t there for them. So we need to think, why am I doing this? What is the purpose? Now, guys here’s one of those things where I am going to say that I am not going to judge people to tell you the truth. Do you know what I see when I see a teenager or an adult with a social networking site and they have got say 1500 followers, I don’t think that they are popular, I don’t think that they have lots of friends. And I certainly don’t think that they know anything about technology or what’s really going on. What I think has happened here is that this person has created an account connected with the 50 people that they do know and then they are prepared to connect with 1450 total strangers for no reason at all except to make themselves feel that they have achieved something or that they are popular and that is what I see. That is what most people in the community see. When my kids come to me and say that everybody is doing this, do you know what they are meaning? Just the people they see on the very small screen and they don’t see the billions of people who aren’t doing this. So guys, a lot of misconceptions can be imagined just by looking at that screen and that’s why I thought that I need to tell you the reality behind this, it doesn’t achieve anything for anybody. So some of my kids use these apps (Snapchat/Facebook/Instagram etc.) but they put things in place and what could you do?
Try and connect and share information with people who actually do add value to your life, like friends and family, even people that you would meet socially. Put your privacy settings in place. If you don’t like the language that people use, or how they portray themselves, block and delete them. Take control of it and you will find that you will be able to get a lot of good stuff out of these programs. It can be used effectively but there are all of these illusions that these companies build around themselves just to make money. One of the things that they try and make us believe is that when we send a picture or a video through Snapchat that it deletes when it gets to the other end. Do you know what I can say to an adult? Hey do you know that the internet is permanent? And they say, yes I know that the internet is permanent. But then they get in there and make a choice and send a photo because they think that it is going to delete when it gets to the other end, so obviously they don’t know that it’s permanent. Do you know that every single video, photo and file that has been sent through Snapchat there are multiple copies of it out there? Someone else has it for the rest of your life and they have total control over how it is used now and for ever. We are not the ones who have got it, someone else does. Snapchat never said that it deleted. They have never said that. Do you know why? They are not allowed to. Because it’s a lie. They know that there are multiple copies out there but some people are still tricked into thinking that when they send a photo that it’s gone. No, it’s not, it’s there forever. We can’t afford to think like that. We can’t afford to be fooled by these companies. That’s what I am saying. Listen to the messages of substance that you are getting from the people around you. The internet is public and the internet is permanent, end of story. No matter what these companies say. There is nothing wrong with people using the program but there are some people who will only send photos because they are being tricked into believing that it is not going to exist anymore. That is when it is going to cause a problem.
I am going to go through what is called a case study. This is an example of a criminal investigation that I did when I was pretending to be a teenager on the internet. I went to work, made a coffee, read a bit of the paper, jumped on the internet, pretended to be a teenager, jumped into my gaming and social media accounts, chatted to some of my contacts in there. I am going to go through this criminal investigation because an adult man contacted me while I was doing my job thinking that I was a teenager. This adult man committed criminal offences against me simply by how he interacted on the internet. We found this person in the physical world; he was arrested and he went to prison. I have arrested eighty-nine adult men just like this from this region. I am going to go through this criminal investigation to show you the mistakes that this adult man made. Do you know why I go through these sorts of things? Do you know what some people say? Oh that’s scary. Do you know what is scary? When people don’t think that they exist. When people think that they know who they are talking to, even though they have never met that person face to face. That’s what is scary. When they don’t understand that not everybody on the internet thinks the same as you. If you have never met someone face to face, it could be a person exactly the same as this, and do you know how well some people are tricked? They think, no it wouldn’t, I know who this person is. They are the people who generally become the victims on these sorts of people online. They will always be part of that world. It doesn’t make the internet a bad place but it makes it what it is. As most of us know that we don’t use our real name, we use a nickname, this guy here decided to call himself “coreyamsam”. He only told me two things about himself. He said that his first name was Corey and that he was thirty years of age. When we arrested him both of those things turned out to be true. Now one of the first mistakes that he made was that he thought that he was talking to a teenager. Now even with a really good imagination have a look at me? Even with pigtails I don’t look like a teenage girl surely? I’ve got a teenage boy so obviously I am not a teenage boy. This adult man here and the other eight-nine adults that I arrested; when they were sitting in that police station, believed beyond all doubt that they were talking to a teenager on the internet. In his mind that teenager was as real to him as everyone who walks around in the physical world. And how did I create that? I told him that I was a teenager. I created a fake account as a teenager. I answered the questions in the way that he wanted me to answer them. So he had more of a reason to be drawn to me. I had fake gaming accounts and that was enough for this adult man to believe beyond all doubt that he was talking to a teenager. Not once did he question it. If he had stood back for one second and thought, ‘you know what, I have never met this person’. What if this is a police officer pretending? What if this is a teenager but their parents see what is going on and they print it out and then go to the police? My life is going to change forever. They will track me down to my address. They will execute a search warrant. They will arrest me. They will take possession of all of my devices. That will destroy my life and the life of my family. Why am I doing this? I am not actually getting anything out of it. It’s actually making me feel a little bit nervous or not right. Why am I doing this? Not one of those men considered that. They were so encapsulated by what I was putting on their screen. What you see on your screen is data and that is all that it is. But in your mind you will find that if you don’t start to think about these things, it will trick you into believing that things are real that aren’t real. And do you know what? Even concepts, like I would never do that out there, but its ok because it is ok on the internet. There is no way around this. You are the only one who can do this. Not your friends. Not your parents. You’re the one making the choices. I am going to tell you a story very quickly and I am going to tell you this because it is the truth. I was speaking at a school in Townsville this term and I played a video for the students, during the video one of the Teachers came up to me and said ‘we have family friends who live in Brisbane and they have a 16 year old daughter. She was connected online to this 17 year old boy from Sydney and she was interacting with him and exchanging photos, talk every day until he became a very close friend of hers. He developed such trust from her because he complimented her all of the time, took an interest in her and told her how fantastic she was. She really wanted to connect with this person online. He had gained so much trust from her that he had groomed her, which meant coerced her into sending sexually explicit image of herself. He told her ‘if you loved me you will do this. Everybody does this. This will make you mature.” So she sent that photograph to the 17 year old. He turned around and said I am not a 17 year old, I am actually a man in my thirties and I have got my friend here, another man and he is in his thirties, and we are going to fly up to Brisbane and you will meet me where we say, at this motel that we have rented and if you don’t I am going to make sure that everybody will see those photographs for the rest of your life, your parents, your grandparents, every student at your school and at another school and you will be embarrassed and humiliated for the rest of your life. That girl was so horrified and she was so scared; she had been blackmailed and extorted. She actually met those two adult men for a period of two months, they flew up a number of times until she couldn’t do it anymore. She considered harming herself. That’s how bad her life had become. So she reported it and those men were arrested and they went to prison. She will probably never recover from that.
That is why I need to tell you these things. When you are prepared, when people are on the internet treating you in a way, or your instincts tell you that something is not quite right, or this person is too good to be true. You have a reason to step in and act, I am not going to get involved with that. Do you know what? It was one button that she pushed sending that photograph. She could have stood back and decided, you know what, I have never met this person and I really don’t know who they are. That would have changed everything.
I don’t want you to go down that path. The internet does not discriminate and it doesn’t care who you are. It judges people by their choices and their choices alone. He thought that he was talking to a teenager, he thought that these messages were private. We talked about this. I mean I have a photo on my phone. I only want my closest friends to see it. I send it to them but I didn’t know that when I sent it, my friend had just got in the shower, they left their phone on the kitchen bench, and their dad was there cutting up something for dinner, and he picked the phone up and looked at the photo, instantly it’s not private anymore. What I know from my experience is there are a billion scenarios that you would never imagine in your wildest dreams that can make what you think is private to become very public. So don’t fall victim to thinking that what I am doing on the internet is private.
The next mistake he made was that he had a conversation with me of an indecent nature. Do you know that he was sitting in his own home and he sends me a message of an indecent or sexually explicit nature thinking that he is sending it to a younger teenager. The second that he pressed send, he was going to prison. He was going to be arrested and his whole life was going to change forever and he didn’t even know it. And do you know what did matter? Who was sitting at the other end. We have some very strict laws in our community and our community doesn’t think that it’s funny. One of them is that’s it is against the law for an adult person to treat you in a way on the internet that makes you feel comfortable in particular in relation to a sexual nature. Our community doesn’t think that this is acceptable. He never would have had that conversation with that person in a shopping centre food court, for a number of reasons but he was prepared to be arrested. Do you know what that message there is? The rules and the responsibilities apply to technology are just as enforceable for me to follow. I get rewarded in exactly the same way. So he wanted to meet with me (teenager me) in the real world. This is obviously an incredibly dangerous thing to do and even for detectives, a whole team of detectives investigating this because we don’t know if he is going to bring a weapon. We don’t know if he is going to turn up with other men. We don’t know. We not only have to protect ourselves but him and the community. So we are very careful when it comes to this because we only know what he is prepared to put on that screen. And he thought that no one knew who he was. That was the other illusion; anonymity. He thought ‘I am going to do this because no one is ever going to find out who I am’. Because out of those eight-nine adult men; they had more reason than anyone else in the whole world to hide their identity online. We found every single one. Nobody is anonymous on the internet. We followed him from his house, to the shopping centre to the food court where he thought that he was going to meet a teenager but he didn’t, he met a whole bunch of police officers instead and he was arrested. We took him back to his house, searched his house, got all of his devices and forensically examined them and we found a large number of younger people that he had harmed and hurt as a result of meeting them online before we had the chance to arrest him. He was removed from the community and he went to prison.
The message is there:
Protect your personal information on the internet.
People that you only meet on the internet are strangers.
The internet is a public place.
The internet is permanent.
The rules and responsibilities are real.
It is not just good enough to say that you know this. It’s got to be good enough to know it when you are in a position and it’s just you and the screen. It’s nine o’clock at night and there are people online, maybe putting pressure on you, that’s when you have got to know it. That’s when you have got to say I know this is going to be public or it could be public that’s why I am not going to do it, no matter what they say, no matter what my mind is telling me or how its making me feel and there is no way around this. Do you know what? Most adults out there have never thought about it in that way and that’s why they have problems. You can be the first generation of adult geniuses to come through and I am not talking about how to type keys, I am talking about understanding what that world is really about. There are things that the internet won’t give you. I’m sorry but we have to understand what its rules are because it won’t break those rules or bend those rules for anybody.
So he went to jail for many, many years. Look I don’t have much time but I am going to say this. Do you know what one of the most common asked questions from a student is? ‘Were you ever cyber bullied when you were doing this job?’ I said ‘Virtually every day’. And do you know what? The FBI wouldn’t let me touch a computer for two weeks after I got there. I spoke to doctors and psychologists to make sure that I had the right personality to do this job and that I knew what to do if I had a problem because I had to look at some very disturbing material and deal with some very disturbing people on the internet. And they found that special agents were becoming affected, their personalities were changing, some were becoming aggressive and some were becoming withdrawn. So they were very concerned about that. And they said to me that when you are doing this job you will need to feel comfortable, confident and in control and if you were experiencing any negative, or bad emotions or feelings, something is wrong and that you need to do something about it.
Guys if you are using technology and you are feeling any of these emotions, then you need to do something about it. Don’t worry about what people are doing; look at how you are feeling because everyone has a different personality. A message that may not affect you in a bad way may have a totally different effect on your friend. Maybe they have faced some trauma in the physical world and the negativity has a really negative affect on them. This will most likely happen as you go through school. You will see content, treated in a way maybe, you will make choices where by you don’t feel that good and maybe it is related to one of these. Something can always be done to help. And do you know what I noticed as a detective? The internet can be very good at causing you issues. But it is terrible at solving issues. Do you know how an online issue gets fixed? It’s when a person gets off the internet and starts communicating with people that they trust. That’s where it starts to get better. Don’t underestimate the value or the power, of having the maturity and the confidence, and the high self-respect to be able to get off the internet and talk to people about things online. Don’t let anybody bully you, threaten you, pressure you into keeping things to yourself on the internet. There will be people who will try to get angry so you will respond online in an angry way. That’s what they are trying to do and then they have won. There is no way around this. You do not have to type any key. You can put the device down and have a break. I mean, that we can try and ignore things. We can block and delete users. We can go to a different website. We can get screen shots. We can have a conversation with somebody. We can report that person online. You already know what you have to do but you have to do something about it. But don’t let it keep going because it won’t stop until it spirals out of control. And stick together with your friends. These emotions are not normal on the internet. Do you know what parents say? Oh cyber bullying this is just what normally happens. This is not what just happens unless you let it happen. There are so many things that can be done. And most people don’t do this. Do you know how I know most people don’t engage in cyber bullying? It’s because we have laws in our country and do you know that we follow most laws? 2000 people who fill up their car with petrol, do you know that there is one person who doesn’t pay? 1,999 people could get in their car, drive away and save their money to buy more Pokémon Go coins or whatever. But they don’t. They go and pay for their petrol. They make that choice themselves; you see this isn’t about making you do the right thing. This is about having a reason yourself to know why you are making good choices. You do it to protect yourself. I pay for my petrol so I don’t get arrested. I know that it is serious. There are crimes in our community; stealing, assault, and this one that sits right beside those two in the federal criminal code. It says that a person is guilty of an offence if they use a carriage service, that’s anything to do with technology to harass or cause offence. That is federal criminal offence. People go to prison for cyber bullying. Do you know why I am saying this? This is an indication of what our community expects. Most people follow the law. People, including adults say everybody is doing it. I say no, no, no, your attention is drawn to the few people who are doing it. You don’t see the billions of people who don’t do this. So, if this happens to you, you know that the community is on your side. This isn’t about me, this is about them. All bullying is linked to low self-esteem. Our community knows that. Never question yourself. Quite often it is due to jealously that someone is trying to attack you or fear themselves. That is why they don’t get involved in it. So don’t question yourself. I have got the community on my side and that something can be done to fix this problem. It is a federal criminal offence and don’t let anyone tell you that it isn’t. Does that mean that when we get bullied we ring the police? No, but at the end of the day we have got to know that it is possible. I am going to say one thing; you, your parents or the school can never, ever, ever stop another parent getting angry and going to the police, ever. And do you know when someone steps through like this. They have to admit, why would I get involved in this? It is not making me anybody, it is not giving me anything, why would I do this, I am just putting myself in a position where I could face some consequences. So maybe today there is one student who walks out today and goes ‘do you know what? I have never looked at it from that perspective, I have better self-esteem than that I am just not going to get involved in it, if I see it happening then I am going to distance myself from it. I am not going to have to like what cyber bullies are saying to protect myself so they don’t do it to me to show that I am agreeing with them. I am not going to get involved it in anymore.’ Like I said at the start guys, every bit of this is your choice. You are the one typing those keys, you don’t have to worry about what other people are doing.
This year first term I spoke to 2,200 teenagers just like yourself, actually they were aged 15-18 and I talked the entire time about the topic of sexting and during that presentation I asked them five questions. They voted relatively and anonymously on their own phone so they were not influenced by anyone else around them. I said to them “how many of your peer group; I am not talking about online, what you see or what you heard or imagined, but people who stand beside you every day, your friends; how many of your friends are actually involved in this?” Do you know that 73% said that they would be surprised if any of their friends were involved in this. Do you know what the next one was? The next highest response was? They know a few of their friends who have done it. But it is not many. That accounted for about 92% of the vote. The majority of the young people in our community including primary school, you and adults don’t do this. They don’t send sexual explicit images of themselves. Do you know why? They get it. They have absorbed values, beliefs, ethics and they understand what the internet is about. Maybe for once they have considered if they send this photo to someone I trust maybe I don’t trust them in twelve months’ time and they have got my photo for the rest of my life. What if, for a joke they put it on the on internet and everyone at this school sees it? How will that affect me? Because you do not think if this is right or if it’s wrong or if it is a big deal or how it would affect me if someone got hold of one of those photos and could use it for the rest of my life. Most people who have got involved in this have never thought about that and they have never stopped it though. That illusion of privacy and control. Before you send that photo is when you need to think about that. Don’t let anybody tell you that everybody does this. They absolutely do not and it is not acceptable in our community and it is actually a federal offence. 189 students just like you in Queensland alone last year were arrested for engaging in this practice. Every single one of them would give anything in this world to take it back. There is one way to protect yourself from this, is to go, me and my friends, it is just not who we are. I don’t care how much pressure you put on me, I don’t get involved in this. It is not what my family is about. I am not going to let you trick me into thinking that it is just ok and that everybody is doing this and that it is different now. No it is not. Do you know when it is going to be acceptable for you to do? And to make sure nothing happens to you. It’s when you print a naked photograph of yourself and put it out on the school noticeboard and think nothing of it. And that all of the students, the parents and the Teachers are walking past and looking at your naked photo and thinking nothing of it. That is when it will be just a part of it, amongst our community. We are not to that stage yet I don’t think. And do you know what one of the first things that people ask themselves? Why? Why would I put a photograph of myself on the notice board? What is the purpose? So guys I am going to just put up a definition as I finish. An image or a video that shows a person who is under 18 years of age and that picture or video is sexually explicit and used for sexual purposes is a federal criminal offence to have it. It is a federal criminal offence to make it. It is a federal criminal offence to post it or send it, it doesn’t matter whether you are 14, 18, 16, 22, 31, 49, 53, 67. If you have those on your device you can be arrested. It doesn’t matter who is in it, if they are under 18 and it is sexually explicit you a committing a federal criminal offence. And guess what, people do not get rewarded for this. Some of them go down very bad paths; today is the day, if you have forwarded or put on to you in the future. You block it, you block those people who have leaked that stuff. It is very dangerous to have those articles so when they least expect it. And it comes from a place where you least expect it to come from. So guys you know that you never want to be part of this presentation. I am going to talk to the year 10, 11 and 12’s like I just said for the whole session on this. Remember those teenagers on the Gold Coast, 2,200 I spoke to them for 45 minutes and at the end they could get online and ask questions. Do you know that they asked dozens and dozens of questions? You will have questions. As you go through this school you will find certain topics and activity on the internet close to the people that you trust. Keep the communications going and they can give you the support. Put things into context for you. Do you know what some young people think, well this is ok and everybody is doing it. So we have to be true to who we are. If the pressure is getting too much, put the device down and go and talk to someone.
Ok guys, good luck. Some of you are thinking ‘man we are only in Year 7, 8 and 9. How heavy is this? Why do I have to make it heavy? Because it is heavy and I don’t think that it’s fair. These laws were never invented with you in mind, just young people making choices and sometimes just making mistakes but unfortunately this is the price that we pay for using technology. So guys stay close to people, trust your instincts, know the internet is public, the rules and responsibilities are there, and something can always be done to help. So I will hand you back and stayed seated and thank you very much.
We hope you found Brett Lee’s seminar informative and beneficial.
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This podcast was produced by Tracy Burton featuring music by Paul Cusick.
Thanks for listening.