"It Could Never Happen To Me"

no picture Jamilla Walcott
Member since November 12, 2013
  • 1 Post
  • Age 23

93% of all 5-15 year olds used the internet in 2013. This breaks down by age as: four in five 5-7 year olds (82%), and nearly all 8-11 year olds (96%) and 12-15 year olds (99%).

Every Tuesday I work with the police junior cadets and last week our topic of the evening was Internet Safety. I had asked them if any of them had spoken to a stranger online, and almost half of them said yes. I was so shocked because these cadets are between the ages of 10 - 13 years. Children now have greater access to social media sites like Facebook.

I then realised that there is a greater need to emphasise the importance of internet safety. Even though they had spoken to a stranger online, either through Facebook or a chat room, they understood the dangers of internet safety but still continue to place themselves in danger. I believe it has something to do with the famous line 'It could never happen to me'. This mindset has change, so that when we educate children on internet safety they know that their is a potential of putting themselves in harms way. They need to know what they should do if they encounter a stranger who is sending hurtful things or asking if they could meet them.

I told them if they do have a social media account, make sure you only have people you know because sometimes a mutual friend is someone that your friend has added you without knowing who you are.

We also spoke about what they should not be putting on Facebook. For example, your address and your mobile number should be private. We then moved on to posting things about other people and cyberbullying. I told them that even though a person in your class has been upsetting you, you should never write about them and post horrible things. You don't know what is going on in that person's life and that may be the end for them, and similarly if someone writes something horrible about you, you report it straight away. Bullying in general is something I dealt with in when I was younger and it was important we spoke about it because it damages lives.

In a ChildLine survey of 13-18 year olds:

60% said they had been asked for a sexual image or video of themselves40% said they had created an image or video of themselves25% said they had sent an image or video of themselves to someone else.
October 2013
11% of 9-16 year olds have encountered sexual images on the internet in the past 12 months.13% of UK 9-16 year olds say they have been bothered or upset by something online in the past year.

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