Community Responds to Online Safety Fears

Monday, 22 May 2017

Federal Member for Robertson Lucy Wicks has addressed the serious issue of online safety, in a speech to Parliament highlighting the upcoming Cyber Awareness Forum on the Central Coast.

Mrs Wicks spoke in support of a Private Members’ Motion moved by the Member for Petrie Luke Howarth about the increasing number of children who could access sexually explicit material online.

“This deals with an issue that at some stage could impact almost every single family, including my own, on the Central Coast,” Mrs Wicks said.

“There is no doubt that this is an important issue that strikes a nerve in my community. Joanne from North Gosford wrote to me, deeply concerned about how sexually explicit content online could pose a risk to kids' wellbeing.

“Anthony from Mangrove Creek agreed, saying the fact that everyone seems to have a portable internet device, carried and controlled in greater numbers by children, magnifies this problem.

“Linda in Umina Beach told me about the dilemma that even if a small number of children retain access to pornography on their mobile phones, they can still unfortunately show it to their friends.

“When it comes to the protection and care of our families, we need to do everything we can to support one another.”

Part of the response will take place at an upcoming Cyber Awareness Forum, on 7th June from 7 to 9pm at the Mingara Recreation Club at Tumbi Umbi.

“The event is being run by the Central Coast Council of P&Cs, alongside NSW Police Central Coast and with representatives from the New South Wales Department of Education. It is designed just for parents, not for children. There are already more than 100 people registered,” Mrs Wicks said.

“The focus of the forum will be around empowering parents and helping them with methods of protection, as well as getting a better understanding of how a digital footprint can later fall into the wrong hands. Put simply, children can sometimes be just one click away from taking a video clip that is later distributed worldwide—and it can never be retrieved.

“This is also where the Government can play a role in assisting with effective resources and support. They include the Stay Smart Online website, the online portal of the eSafety Commissioner, and the iParent website. The NSW State Government also just announced tough new laws, where people who record or share intimate images without consent can be jailed and fined.

“May I also thank every parent, teacher, community leader, police officer and anyone else who is working to keep our children safe.”

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