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Keeping It Real

Forensic psychologist Dr Russ Pratt says we must educate children about sexuality, pornography and consent from a young age.

While sexual harassment and assault concerns have existed forever across our school systems, the public disclosure of numerous incidents around Australia highlights just how extensive and thus problematically relevant these issues are for today’s educators, parents, and others.

When it comes to sexual and relational matters, young people are far more sophisticated, and exposed to so much more information than their parents and carers were as teenagers. However, the ‘basics’ should still apply when it comes to educating them about appropriate sexual and relationship behaviour.

Children and teens pick up so much information about sex and relationships from those around them. This generally starts with their parents and adult family members, and later, as teenagers, their same-age peers. Some of that information, particularly about sexual matters, but also about various other ideas they hear may range from fine, through to mildly problematic and then to plainly unacceptable. But how is a child or young teenager able to know that without appropriate guidance?

The key to ‘Keeping It Real’ is to provide good, practical ‘real-life’ education to our kids, starting from a young age, about consent and respect, using age-appropriate language and real-life examples. If we’re really serious, we need it to be a joint venture between schools, families and young people.

The importance of education

Schools should integrate information and teach children and young people about all aspects of relationships throughout their curriculum from the start of primary school and later, at the appropriate time, provide comprehensive relationally-based sex education with consistent messaging. ‘It’s not just about the mechanics!’ Some schools already do this well; others don’t.

Parents and carers also need to educate, instil good values, and set good examples, as we know that giving consistent, repetitive, and practical messages to teens, and then directly role modelling appropriate behaviours can – and WILL make a difference!

Role models are incredibly important, whether they be parents, carers, teachers, other adults, or older, pro-social teens. High profile incidents such as Canberra staffers filming themselves having sex in Parliament House, and politicians accused of sexual assault, do not have to be the ‘prevailing view’ of actions that our kids see or believe to be appropriate behaviours. We, as parents and educators should assist them to critique these images and messages that they see, hear, and sometimes are themselves exposed to.

Most young people want respectful relationships. But a small percentage feel entitled to treat others poorly. Let’s take 100 teenagers. Around half will understand the concept of respect and consent and live by it. Thirty-five more will require help with expectations and boundaries, and when given good direction will respect them. The final 5-10 per cent will ignore attempts to educate them; they feel entitled to act as they please, including sexually. This last group really need our help the most.

Navigating the online world

The online world has changed immensely over the past two decades. Inappropriate behaviour that in the past would be localised and managed, can now be recorded, amplified, and replayed. In a world where it becomes harder and harder to shock, the worse your behaviour is, the more likely bad behaviour  will get you noticed.

Take online pornography, which can create a warped view of what’s sexually normal or acceptable, and what to expect from partners (and what partners expect from you). By age 15, most young people have been exposed to porn willingly, by accident, or unwillingly. In many cases, boys believe they must replicate what they see to be a good lover, and girls feel they must consent to painful and sexually problematic acts.

What can we do? Well, Social Worker Cyra Fernandes and I developed the Savvy Consumer model to equip youth to critique pornography, to better understand the tenuous relationship of online pornography to real, everyday sex – and to treat pornography with the contempt it deserves. We still advocate a zero-tolerance approach for children aged under 12, but we want older youth to understand the physical and relational aspects of a sexual interaction. We also acknowledge that many young people handle porn well, but others need guidance.

No easy answers

Parents may find it hard to discuss these difficult topics, but the younger we lay the foundations for respectful behaviour, the better.

Issues around sex, respect, and consent are complex, and there’s no simple solutions. We can minimise harm, however, by appropriately educating children from a young age about sexual and relational matters, modelling good behaviours, and calling it out when we see bad behaviours.

As parents and teachers of the next generation, WE must do this work, or the internet will do it for us, and our children will live with the consequences. Don’t feel that you’re on your own with this stuff; there’s always help available to assist with giving kids valuable support in often tricky areas.

Forensic and Counselling Psychologist Dr Russ Pratt founded Prime Forensic Psychology and specialises in sexual abuse and child protection issues. www.primeforensicpsychology.com

What is drink spiking?

Drink spiking is illegal and dangerous. How can we minimise the risk?

 By Cheryl Critchley

 Drink spiking involves putting alcohol or drugs into someone’s drink without their knowledge or permission.

This is illegal in all states and territories. But it is often unreported as those who experience it may not remember what happened and/or fear their stories will not be taken seriously.

Drink spiking can happen anywhere, including night clubs, parties, festivals and private homes. Women are more likely to have their drinks spiked than men.

It may involve slipping alcohol into a non-alcoholic drink, adding extra alcohol to an alcoholic drink, or putting prescription or illegal drugs (e.g. benzodiazepinesamphetamines or GHB – also called liquid ecstasy) into any drink.

Those affected may become impaired and vulnerable to robbery and/or sexual assault. An estimated one third of drink spiking incidents are associated with sexual attack.

The Better Health Channel has a good summary: https://www.betterhealth.vic.gov.au/health/healthyliving/drink-spiking

What are the signs?

The effects of drink spiking will depend upon the type drug used, the amount, what it is mixed with, your size and what you’ve already consumed.

Some victims become lightheaded and confused and may lose consciousness or later forget what happened. If you feel that something’ not right, it probably isn’t. Tell a friend Reach out to venue staff, who can help.

Drink spiking symptoms may include:

  • feeling drunk, woozy or drowsy
  • feeling “out of it” or drunker than expected
  • mental confusion
  • speech difficulties (such as slurring)
  • memory loss
  • loss of inhibitions
  • nausea and vomiting
  • breathing problems
  • muscle spasms or seizures
  • loss of consciousness
  • an unusually long hangover
  • a severe hangover when you had little or no alcohol to drink.

Source: Better Health Channel

Protecting each other

Planning ahead and supporting each other while out can reduce the risk of drink spoking.

Victoria Police suggests that before going out:

  • tell someone where you are going
  • decide on a place to meet at the end of the night
  • carry the mobile phone numbers of your trusted friends
  • encourage one person in the group to be the ‘designated driver’

While out, avoid sharing drinks or accepting them from strangers, don’t leave drinks unattended and watch where all your drinks are coming from. Monitor bar staff preparing and serving your drinks and try not to become isolated from your group.

To protect yourself and your friends:

  • Party safely and socialise with trusted friends. Plan how you will watch out for each other.
  • Buy your own drinks.
  • If you are at a venue that serves drinks, watch the bartender prepare your drink.
  • Don’t accept drinks from strangers.
  • If you accept a drink from a stranger, accompany them to the bar and take it from the bartender yourself.
  • Don’t drink anything that has been spiked and call it out if you see others doing it.
  • Be wary if a stranger buys you a drink and it’s not what you requested.
  • Don’t take your eyes off your drink. If you need to leave (to go to the toilet or dance, for example), ask a trusted friend to keep watch.
  • Buy drinks in bottles with screw-top lids. Put it in your bag when you go to the toilet or dance.
  • Don’t consume your drink if you think it may have been spiked. Discuss your concerns with the manager or host.
  • Tell the manager or host immediately if you see someone spike a drink or suspect that drink spiking may be occurring.

Source: Better Health Channel

What to do if it happens

If you suspect drink spiking has occurred to you or someone else, alert a trusted person.

Try to find a safe space with the trusted person and watch anyone who may be affected.

If the person has an unusual reaction or is unwell, call Triple Zero (000) immediately and if needed go to a doctor or the closest hospital emergency department.

Tell health professionals you suspect drink spiking so urine and blood samples can be taken.

If you suspect a drug-assisted sexual assault has occurred, tell police or a sexual assault service such as the Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service (Australia).

Ambulance Victoria reassures young people that it doesn’t matter what they have taken, staff will treat them without judgment to ensure they are safe.

“Paramedics are here to help, but they need to know if someone has consumed drugs or alcohol and what is in their system to treat them effectively,” a spokesperson says.

“Conversations between paramedics and patients about such matters are confidential.”

Counting the cost

When drink spiking was raised on ABC Radio Melbourne, several parents revealed their children and young people they knew had had drinks spiked before being sexually assaulted.Victoria Police Chief Commissioner Shane Patton urges people to report such incidents to the police.

“I would absolutely urge anyone who’s been a victim of this kind of offending to come in and we will treat them with absolute confidentiality, we will be supportive and we will do our job,” he says.

“It is very much a crime. We can only act on what’s reported to us. We will believe them. We will act and we will investigate.”

Protecting patrons

Music Victoria’s Best Practice Guidelines encourage live music venues to ensure that staff are trained to observe and deal with any potential alcohol, drug or sexual harassment/assault issues.

The guidelines say staff should monitor patrons they believe may be the target of, or vulnerable to an instance of sexual harassment or assault, and actively monitor their wellbeing.

Patrons also need to know they can approach staff if needed, and appropriate action will be taken.

“All staff should be trained in how to identify and respond appropriately to incidents of sexual harassment or assault,” the guidelines say.

“Staff should be made aware that they will not be disadvantaged for reporting or responding to an instance of sexual harassment or assault within the venue.”

More information

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia says one in three drink spiking incidents are associated with a sexual attack, and these incidents are vastly under-reported. Four out of five victims of drink spiking are female.

The service urges anyone who thinks they have been sexually assaulted, you can talk to experienced counsellors, who can help you decide what to do next.

Rape & Domestic Violence Services Australia
https://www.rape-dvservices.org.au/

1800 Respect: National Sexual Assault, Domestic Family Violence Counselling Service
https://www.1800respect.org.au/

NSW Rape Crisis
1800 424 017

Victoria’s Centres Against Sexual Assault (CASA)
https://casa.org.au/

Crime Stoppers
https://crimestoppers.com.au/

Doctor Q&A

Dr Siobhan Bourke answers a few of your questions.

 

Q. WHY IS IT IMPORTANT TO USE CORRECT SEX AND HUMAN BODY TERMINOLOGY FROM DAY ONE?

“As soon as we use a euphemism, we’re creating a taboo. We’re saying to kids, it’s not right to use the right language. They pick up on that – we won’t talk about it, we’ll hide it. And from not calling your penis your penis and not calling your vagina your vagina, it leads to other things that they’re not supposed to talk about.

And the whole subject of sex becomes taboo. When that occurs, we end up with kids not talking about some of the most important things in their life.”

Q. SO HOW DO PARENTS APPROACH THOSE CONVERSATIONS?

“It’s not the conversation you have at the top of your voice in the middle of the supermarket, and there are appropriate levels of information. The key is to have little conversations and have them often. You don’t have to give them a full-on manual, but you can discuss simply what goes on with sex and methods of protection against infection and pregnancy.

When girls are heading towards puberty and having their periods it is a great opportunity to have this conversation. For some girls they may know that mum or others are bleeding – they notice things in bathrooms or walk in on mum in the toilet, so the conversations may start even earlier than puberty. You can explain the function of periods and the menstrual cycle as your body preparing for pregnancy, and then, if not getting pregnant, a period comes; details will depend on the age of the girl.”

Q. IS IT IMPORTANT FOR PARENTS TO REALISE THEY DON’T HAVE TO KNOW THE ANSWERS TO EVERY QUESTION?

“Parents think they are supposed to know all about sex, but you don’t have to know everything. It’s about working stuff out together, like you would other topics. The most protective factor for kids for sex and drugs is that connectedness in families.

If your child can ring you at 3am and say ‘come and help me’, you’ve maintained that connection. If they can say to you, ‘I like so and so and want to talk to you about sex’ or ‘where do babies come from’ and get an honest answer, that is the safest thing for kids going out into the world.

Sometimes conversations are awkward for both parents and children but they need to be had.
If maintaining eye contact is making either party feel nervous, try having the conversation you have in the car or while doing the dishes. As the adults and guardians, we need to have these conversations.“

Q. WHAT DO PARENTS NEED TO KNOW ABOUT PORNOGRAPHY?

“Pornography is so much more accessible today. Porn also seems to be increasingly violent in nature, particularly against women. But it’s also damaging for young people, especially men, because it takes away their understanding of what loving, caring and responsible relationships are.

We need to be able to talk to our young people about pornography in conversations around their sexuality.
That’s why it’s important to develop that ability for your young person to be able to talk to you about whatever.”

Q. WHAT ARE THE MOST COMMON SEXUALLY TRANSMITTED INFECTIONS AFFECTING YOUNG PEOPLE?

“Chlamydia is the most common bacterial infection – spread by unprotected sexual activity. It’s simple to detect, with a urine test, and it’s easily treated with antibiotics. The most commonly transmitted STI is the human papillomavirus or HPV. More than 80 per cent of people get it and it’s very difficult to avoid but most people clear it without even knowing they had it.
There are some types of HPV virus that cause changes to the cervix and can lead to cervical cancer down the track, but we now have a vaccine to prevent that.

The Australian government put this vaccine on the National Immunisations program for girls aged 12 or 13 (equivalent to year 7 at high school) in 2007 and then included boys aged 12 or 13 in 2013. This is showing to be a great protection against cervical cancer and other HPV-related cancers.

There are other STIs around so simple advice is to use protection (condoms) and to get regular checks – sexually active people under 30 are recommended to have a urine chlamydia test once a year.”

Q. WHAT ADVICE DO YOU HAVE WHEN PARENTS DISCUSS CONTRACEPTION WITH THEIR KIDS?

“The first thing most people talk about is the pill but for young women, long-acting reversible contraceptions (LARC) that you don’t have to remember and think about every day are more reliable and convenient. There are intrauterine devices and the Implanon implant, which are both available for young women – even those who have not been pregnant or given birth.

It is also good to remember when there has been a contraception failure the morning-after pill, or more appropriately called emergency contraception,
can be taken up to 120 hours after unprotected sex, although it’s most effective within the first three days.”

Q&A Kirsten Cleland

Kirsten Cleland has worked in the mental health field for more than 20 years

and in youth mental health for the past eight years with headspace.

Q. ARE PARENTS INSTINCTS IMPORTANT IN RECOGNISING IF THEIR CHILD IS STRUGGLING
WITH SOMETHING IN THEIR LIFE?

”Parents know their children better than anyone else in the world. If you sense there is something going on for your child that is not usual, and it has happened consistently, see your GP.
If you sense your GP is not taking you seriously, then I strongly recommend you get a second opinion – maybe from a GP who specialises in young people or someone with an interest in mental health.”

Q. HOW PREVALENT ARE MENTAL HEALTH DIFFICULTIES IN YOUNG PEOPLE?

”One of the reasons headspace was set up was that 75 per cent of all mental health difficulties occur before the age of 25. By mental health difficulties, I’m talking about social or family difficulties, bullying or stress at school and young people questioning their gender role or sexuality through to anxiety and depression.
It’s a time of massive change – puberty, the transition from primary to secondary school, young people making decisions about what they are going to do with their life and wanting to be more
independent from parents …”

Q. HOW DO YOU GET YOUR KIDS TO TALK ABOUT THESE ISSUES?

”Kids can feel uncomfortable speaking with their parents about issues that are concerning them. So it is important for them to know who is in that young person’s life that they can talk to? A footy coach, teacher, mum, dad, grandparents, godparents. Make yourself available.
Kids always (often?) want to tell you the most important things as you’re walking out the door, making dinner or on a business call. It won’t always be at the most convenient time. It is important
that you take this opportunity to engage with your young person, as this is the moment when they have come to you for help. If you’re trying to start the conversation, evidence indicates statements help like ‘I’ve noticed… it seems like… I’m wondering… you don’t seem yourself, you seem really tired…’ Be inquiring rather than accusatory. You shut off the opportunity for communication if young people see it as potentially adversarial or feel they’re going to get in trouble.”

Q. WOULD YOUR CHILD LIKE YOU TO FIX THE PROBLEM, OR DO THEY WANT YOU TO SIMPLY LISTEN?

”I often say to my kids, ‘would you like me to fix this or would you like me to listen?’ By giving them an opportunity to decide what type of support is available you are allowing them to have a degree of control as well as letting them know you trust them to know what they need. Often, at first, they just want you to listen because listening is an opportunity to join around a shared concern. Then you can ask ‘what can I do?’, however you are enabling your child to have a degree of responsibility and you’re demonstrating you have faith in their ability to make decisions. That’s our job as parents – to help our kids made decisions. The decision might not be the one we would like, and it might blow up in their face, but as long as it’s not going to do harm then it’s a learning
opportunity.”

Q. HOW DO YOU KEEP COMMUNICATION OPEN WHEN YOUR CHILD DOES EVERYTHING TO AVOID TALKING?

”Young people can feel they have nothing of value to offer or they believe that what they have to say is important, especially if they are feeling so awful in themselves. Check-in with them regularly – tell them you’re making a cup of tea and would they like something? If they say no, ask again in an hour. Make their favorite meal for dinner and If they don’t leave their room, take a plate to them. Or sit with them and let them know you’ve noticed they are not themselves. Even if you’re not getting much back, the young person sees that mum or dad are reliable and are there for them. Remember to be consistent in what you say and do, and to follow through as this will demonstrate your reliability to them as a support.”

// Kirsten Cleland is a manager with headspace Early Psychosis Services and a former centre manager – headspace Elsternwick & headspace Bentleigh.

Kirsten Cleland. Headspace

Know the Law // Sexting

Being familiar with the law is an important part of keeping young people safe sexually.
Parents and their teenagers should know how the law applies to them.

Victoria’s age of consent to sexual interactions is 16. The age of consent for same-sex relationships is the same as it is for heterosexual relationships.

There are some legal defences if the person having consensual sex is younger than 16 and their partner is less than two years older than them and does not have a caring or supervising role with them.
If an adult has a sexual relationship with someone in their care who is 16 or 17, it’s also a crime, unless the adult reasonably believed the younger person was 18 or older.

People aged 18 and over can consent to sex with anyone aged 16 or over, unless they are supervising or caring for the younger person.

In Victoria, criminal laws apply to non-consensual sexual penetration, which includes anything that involves putting a penis into a vagina, anus or mouth (to any extent). It includes putting an object or a part of the body into a vagina or anus.

The law also applies to touching a person in a sexual way, like touching another person’s vagina, penis, anus or breasts. Rape occurs when someone sexually penetrates another person who has not consented, including where the person cannot consent because they are asleep, unconscious or so affected by alcohol or drugs that they cannot consent. Sexual assault occurs when someone touches another person sexually without their consent.

SEXTING ??

In late 2014, Victoria introduced Australia’s first “sexting” laws. These laws created offences targeting the distribution, or threats to distribute, intimate images of another person, and introduced exceptions to child pornography offences where young people engaging in non-exploitative “sexting” with their peers.

The Crimes Amendment (Sexual Offences and Other Matters) Act 2014 created two summary offences of “distribution of an intimate image” and “threat to distribute an intimate image” in circumstances contrary to community standards of acceptable conduct. These offences apply to young people and adults.

The distribution offence carries a penalty of up to two years in prison, and the new offence of threatening to distribute carries a penalty of up to one year
in prison.

New exceptions to child pornography offences will ensure that those aged under 18 are not inappropriately prosecuted or added to the sex offenders’ register for consensual, non-exploitative sexting with their peers. These exceptions do not apply in relation to images depicting a criminal offence such as a sexual assault.

MARRIAGE ??

Teenagers aged 16 or 17 can marry only if their parents or guardian agree, their partner is at least 18 and a court agrees the situation is special enough to allow the marriage – pregnancy may not be enough.
The court considers things like how long the couple has been together, their maturity, financial situation and how independent they are from their parents. If the court agrees, they must marry within three months.

CONTRACEPTION ??

Those under 18 may be able to get contraception, like the pill, from a doctor. The doctor must decide if the young person is mature enough to understand what they’re doing and use the contraception properly. Anyone can buy condoms at any age; most chemists and supermarkets sell them.

PREGNANCY ??

Girls need to know they have options and people they can talk to, such as a counsellor, nurse or doctor. They can choose to keep the baby, adopt it out or have an abortion. There is no legal minimum age for keeping a baby or having an abortion. If the mother is under 16, a loved one concerned about their welfare or the baby can call the Department of Human Services. Abortion is legal in Victoria up to 24 weeks and after 24 weeks in some rare circumstances.
Family Planning Victoria provides advice and support //www.fpv.org.au

YOUNG FATHERS ??

A father is legally responsible for financially supporting their child. If they are at school and don’t earn any money, they may have to pay later when they can afford to. If proven to be the father, they must pay child support until the child is 18.
* Source Victoria Legal Aid. www.legalaid.vic.gov.au

CONTACTS

Useful websites with legal information for young people:
Go to // www.lawstuff.org.au
www.legalaid.vic.gov.au
www.youthcentral.vic.gov.au – follow the link to “Know Your Rights”
www.youthlaw.asn.au
Get the free phone app // Below-the-belt sex, selfies, cyber-bullying at www.legalaid.vic.gov.au/below-the-belt

Cyberbully laws

Federal and state laws exist to protect potential victims and punish offenders.

Cyber-bullying is illegal, but working out what aspects are covered, and how, can be a challenge. Cyber-bullying and its related offences are covered by a range of state, territory and federal laws. Some jurisdictions have specific anti-bullying laws, while others use existing laws to prosecute cases. Regardless of whether jurisdiction has specific cyber-bullying laws, related behaviours such as stalking, making threats and physical assault are generally covered by existing state and territory legislation.

// FEDERAL LAW
ENHANCING ONLINE SAFETY FOR CHILDREN ACT 2015

Passed in early 2015, the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act established a Children’s eSafety Commissioner, a complaints system for reporting cyber-bullying material aimed at an Australian child and a two-tiered system for rapid removal of cyber-bullying material from large social-media services.
In 2017 the role was expanded to include all Australians and under the revised Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 is known as the Office of the eSafety Commissioner. The independent statutory office within the Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) administers cyber-bullying complaints, promotes online safety, co-ordinates relevant Commonwealth department, authority and agency activities, conducts and oversees educational and community awareness programs, makes grants and advises the Communications Minister.

A person can lodge a complaint to the commissioner if they have reported the material to the specific social-media site first and did not receive an outcome. The commissioner has the power to investigate complaints into cyber-bullying and conduct investigations as he or she sees fit.
Among other things, the legislation provides for:
• Setting out the eSafety Commissioner’s functions and powers;
• A complaints system for cyber-bullying material;
• A two-tiered scheme for the rapid removal from large social-media services of cyber-bullying material;
• A mechanism for the commissioner to give end-user notices to require a person who posts cyber-bullying material to remove the material, refrain from posting further material or apologise for posting the material; and
• Enforcement mechanisms.

// SOUND ADVICE
Unbullyable by Sue Anderson can be purchased online.
Australia’s Youth-Driven Movement Against Bullying // projectrockit.com.au/about or call 0435 150 280.
Body image movie Embrace //www.youtube.com/watch?v=__2AayArYfs
Reach out // au.reachout.com

// WHO ENFORCES CYBER-BULLYING LAWS?

Many forms of cyber abuse could be considered illegal under state or federal legislation. For example, under the Commonwealth Criminal Code Act 1995 (‘the Act’) it is an offence to menace, harass or cause offence, using a ‘carriage service’.

It is also an offence under the Act to use a carriage service to make threats to kill or cause serious harm to a person, regardless of whether the person receiving the threat actually fears that the threat would be carried out.

These provisions could capture instances of menacing, harassing or offensive conduct and threats carried out using landlines, mobile phones (e.g. MMS, SMS) and the internet, including emails and social media. For example, using a mobile phone to repeatedly send offensive images to someone.

Most Australian states and territories also have laws covering stalking, blackmail, criminal defamation and various unlawful uses of technology. A number of jurisdictions have also passed laws creating offences for the threat to distribute, or distribution, of intimate images (image-based abuse).
Office of the eSafety Commissioner // esafety.gov.au

THE PROCESS FOR REPORTING CYBER-BULLYING FOR UNDER-18s

•Collect evidence
• Report to the platform/site in which it occurred
• If not removed within 24 hours, then report to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner
More info // www.esafety.gov.au/complaints-and-reporting/cyberbullying-complaints/i-want-to-report-cyberbullying

CYBER-BULLYING AND THE AUSTRALIAN FEDERAL POLICE

• Due to the internet’s borderless nature, unwanted contact, harassment or cyber-bullying can occur from anywhere.
• Schools and parents should become involved in the first instance, as they would with most “offline” bullying.
• Schools should have a cyber-bullying policy with sanctions for students who bully others during or outside school hours.
• Serious cyber-bullying or stalking cases can be reported to the Australian Cyber Security Centre’s ReportCyber service (cyber.gov.au / cyber.gov.au/report).
• Through initiatives such as ThinkUKnow, the AFP works with state and territory police forces, Neighbourhood Watch Australasia and the private sector to educate about staying safe online.
• The AFP’s High Tech Crime Operations Crime Prevention team presents at schools, junior sporting clubs and community groups about online risks and staying safe.
More info // www.thinkuknow.org.au

 

// THE AUSTRALIAN CYBER SECURITY CENTRE

Cybercrime can be quickly and easily reported online.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre allows secure online reporting of online crimes through its ReportCyber service.
The Commonwealth, state and territory governments policing initiative also helps people to recognise and avoid common cybercrimes.
The ACSC educates and advises about common cybercrime, such as hacking, online scams, online fraud, identity theft and attacks on computer systems.

It also covers cyber-bullying, which can be reported if the actions are intended to make the victim feel fearful, uncomfortable, offended or harassed. Those
being physically stalked or concerned about their safety should report to the local police immediately.

Cyber-bullying or stalking involves someone engaging in offensive, menacing or harassing behaviour using technology. It can happen to people at any age,
time and often anonymously.

Examples include:
• Posting hurtful messages, images or videos online;
• Repeatedly sending unwanted messages online;
• Sending abusive texts and emails;
• Excluding or intimidating others online;
• Creating fake social-networking profiles or websites that are hurtful;
• Nasty online gossip and chat; and
• Any other form of digital communication that is discriminatory, intimidating, intended to cause hurt or make someone fear for their safety.
More info // www.cyber.gov.au

 

Pull out quote available.
Those being physically stalked or concerned about their safety should report to the local police immediately.

Gambling, Remove Temptation

Profile // Dr. Wayne Warburton

Dr. Wayne Warburton says statistics suggest that in most high school classrooms in Australia, one teenager would have a gambling problem.

‘‘Studies of Australian youth gambling show 3 to 4 per cent of teenagers have a problem – in adults it’s around 0.5 to 1 per cent of the population. Teenagers may be more susceptible to problem gambling because the adolescent brain is still ‘under construction’, but it’s not an obvious problem. Most parents wouldn’t know their teenager was having difficulties because teenagers tend to be very reluctant to admit to gambling – it’s illegal under the age of 18 and teenagers don’t want to get into trouble either for gambling or for the ways they may have obtained the money to gamble. They may also feel ashamed and not want their social network to know just how many people they have borrowed from.

“For many teenagers, a gambling problem begins online with an activity that isn’t strictly gambling but gets them in the mindset to gamble. Many video games have a gambling component, and other games that simulate gambling (such as online ‘slot machines’) are commonly advertised on many social media sites.

“Online gambling games are programmed to make you win – it’s almost impossible to lose. They groom you to believe you are going to win a lot of money gambling, that you are skilled at it, and such beliefs can promote gambling behaviour.

“Typically several of the top 10 iPhone gaming apps are casino-style games. You can spend as much as you want, but because they don’t involve winning money, they’re not ‘gambling’ so are unregulated. We know that kids access these sites and apps, and also play online video games that have a gambling component. Many games have gambling-like devices to progress, or skins that can be gambled online, or loot boxes that can be purchased. Interestingly, loot boxes were recently shown scientifically to have most of the same characteristics as gambling. Research also suggests that making in-app purchases for gambling-like activities is predictive of developing a gambling problem later.

“Parents need to know about gambling apps and simulated gambling and to realise that for some kids this will be a precursor to developing a gambling problem. And remember, kids can spend lots of money on these games before progressing to actual gambling. It’s big money and a big industry.

“For some teenagers, gambling becomes a bigger part of their life and school becomes less and less important. Gambling becomes more important than friendships and family, and teenagers often start to lie about money and what they are doing with their time. Teenagers usually don’t have access to large amounts of money so they may steal from parents, buy and sell things illegally, or use a stolen credit card.

“On a practical level, parents can keep internet-connected devices out of bedrooms and in public areas of their home. Use internet blocking devices that block pop-ups and invitations to gamble from coming up on screen. You can also use internet monitoring software, although your teenager won’t think that’s very cool!

“Because children/teenagers are reluctant to talk about gambling, even when they’re in financial difficulty and are scared that their gambling is out of control, parents need to know how to talk with a teenager about it.

“Keep the conversation open. Talk about the traps but don’t be judgmental. Explain that playing gambling-like games online and making in-app purchases increases the risk of developing a gambling problem. Educate them about the inflated win-rate of such games and the low chances of success in real gambling – the odds of winning a poker machine jackpot are 9.7 million to
one. They have a greater chance of being struck by lightning (‘just’ 1.6 million to one). Help kids understand that these online games and apps are designed to suck them in – and they do a
really good job.“

// REMOVE TEMPTATION

POPULAR INTERNET GAMBLING FILTERS
• GamBlock
• Betfilter

INTERNET MONITORING SOFTWARE
• Qustodio
• Norton Family
• Net Nanny
• Surfie (good for mobiles)

BETTING IN SPORT
Psychologist Jo Lamble shares some tips for starting a conversation:
• Make use of stories
• Learn how to listen so your children will talk
• Choose the right time
• Use some humor
• Tailor your message to their interests
• Leave them wanting more

OTHER HELPFUL RESOURCES
Australian Council on Children and the Media app reviews with clearly labeled gambling information // childrenandmedia.org.au/app-reviews/
KidBet // kidbet.com.au
Gambler’s Help Youthline (24/7) // 1800 262 376
Gambling Help Online // www.gamblinghelponline.org.au
Parent resources // www.responsiblegambling.vic.gov.au

// Dr. Wayne Warburton is an Associate Professor of Developmental Psychology at Macquarie University.

All in the Family

Respect starts in the home, where Australian families continue to evolve.

Young people are shaped by many forces, including friends, classmates, teachers, the wider community and social media. But the home is where children experience their first role models and learn how to behave. The importance of parents and carers providing a respectful environment and modelling respectful behaviour cannot be overemphasised.

What parents do and say, such as how they eat, exercise and treat others, influences their children. A child’s home is their reality. The raisingchildren.net.au says parents influence their child’s basic values, such as religious values, and issues related to their future, such as educational choices. The stronger your relationship with your child, the more influence you’ll have.

Your child’s friends are more likely to influence everyday behaviour, such as the music they listen to, the clothes they wear and whether they pick on or bully someone.

It’s OK to Disagree, But..

  • Model respectful behaviour.
  • Treat siblings and partners equally, regardless of gender.
  • Set boundaries with consequences for breaking them.
  • Be consistent.
  • It’s OK to disagree but use respectful language.
  • Don’t criticise ex-partners in front of children.
  • Minimise swearing and acknowledge inevitable slip-ups. 
  • Don’t generalise about groups such as LGBTIQ+ or those with disabilities.
  • Tell your children you love them regardless of their sexuality or gender identity.
  • Don’t call anyone useless, unattractive or too fat.
  • Pull others up if they speak disrespectfully
    and explain why.
  • Never use violence or aggression to make a point.

Modelling Good Behaviour

It starts with creating a respectful and nurturing environment where all family members are respected, regardless of marital status, family composition, or gender or sexual identity.  

This includes families with parents who no longer live together.

Language is crucial, and words matter. Children notice what adults say and how they say it. Disrespectful talk and actions teach children that this is how people treat each other.

Modelling respectful behaviour, having boundaries and calling out disrespectful behaviour all help children learn the importance of respecting others and how it can make a difference. 

We all make mistakes. If you do, admit you’ve done the wrong thing and explain why.

Tips for Role-Modelling

  • Include your child in family discussions and allow them to give input into family decisions, rules and expectations. 
  • Try to practise what you preach. Teenagers can and do notice when you don’t!
  • Work towards a healthy lifestyle by eating well and exercising regularly. 
  • Avoid making negative comments about your body – and other people’s. 
  • Show that you enjoy education and learning. If you make it seem interesting and enjoyable, your child is more likely to be positive about school.
  • Keep a positive attitude. Think, act and talk in an optimistic way.
  • Take responsibility by admitting your mistakes and talking about how you can correct them. Try not to blame everything on others or circumstances.
  • Use problem-solving skills to deal with challenges or conflicts in a calm and productive way. 
  • Show kindness and respect to others.

Sibling Rivalry

Siblings don’t choose each other, which can mean personality clashes, disagreements and sibling rivalry. While we cannot expect them to be best friends, siblings should be taught to respect each other.

What You Need to Know About Gaming

Did you know 97 per cent of Australian homes with children have computer games?

A few years ago, a Russian teenager addicted to online gaming died after developing suspected deep-vein thrombosis. The 17-year-old had spent 22 consecutive days playing popular online game Defense of the Ancients.

He collapsed and died after developing a thrombosis, like those that passengers can suffer on long-haul flights. In the 18 months leading up to his death, investigators say the teenager spent about 6.5 hours a day playing online. During the days preceding his death, he had broken away from his computer screen only to eat and nap.

While this case may seem extreme, online games present another potential challenge for teenagers and parents, who need to become familiar with what their child is playing online, and with whom they are playing.

A 2018 report from the Office of the eSafety Commissioner found eight in 10 young people aged eight to 17 played games online in the 12 months to June 2017. The same report found online multiplayer gaming is very popular, with six in 10 young people playing these games.

Many online games include content and themes unsuitable for certain age groups. So games often come with age recommendations or ratings, similar to movie or film classifications. For example, Call of Duty (CoD) has an MA 15+ rating and contains strong themes and violence. Clash of Clans, a multiplayer game, is recommended for players over the age of 13.

Many games allow players to communicate through forums, chat and messaging services. In the interests of player safety, Activision, creators of CoD, recommend young people never share their password or give players they meet online their name, address, email address or school details. Computers and tablets should also have up-to-date security software to protect against viruses.

Supercell, owner of Clash of Clans, does not pre-screen or monitor all user content and recommends that players never share their login data or log into their account on someone else’s device.
Parents should also be aware that some games allow players to purchase points, different versions of the game and game-related merchandise. The Office of the eSafety Commissioner found around 34 per cent of eight to 17-year-olds made an in-game purchase in the 12 months to June 2017. So find out whether your child is using money to play online.

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner lists a number of games and has comprehensive information on game content, who can play, how to protect personal information, how to report cyber-bullying or abuse and how to block your child spending money while playing online.

Go to // www.esafety.gov.au/esafety-information/games-apps-and-social-networking // www.videogames.org.au // www.instituteofgames.com
Watch // www.abc.net.au/7.30/content/2015/s4472277.htm

RISK FACTORS

• Withdrawn
• Nightmares
• Loss of interest
• Online friends vs real friends
•Anger about not being able to play

WHY KIDS ARE HOOKED ON FORTNITE

This game has been one of the most popular video games for children and young people in recent times.
The free version, Fortnite: Battle Royale, operates across Windows and Mac, Xbox and PlayStation. However, while the game itself is free, players can
purchase outfits, weapons and other accessories to boost their chances of survival.
Fortnite pits players against other players around the world and the aim is to be the last person standing on a sometimes violent and hostile island
inhabited by monsters and enemy figures.
On average, each game can last around 20 minutes, assuming your character doesn’t get killed before that.
The Australian Council on Children and the Media says Fortnite is not recommended for children 12 years and under. Parental guidance is recommended
for children aged 13 to 17.

 

AT A GLANCE

GAMING AND YOUNG PEOPLE: A SNAPSHOT
76% of children under 18 play video games.
60% of parents play online games with their children in the same room.
81% of parents are familiar with controls on online games.
84% of parents say they have discussed playing safely online with their children.
48% of parents say they play online games with their children as a way of spending time with them.
77% of parents say they have rules about how long children can play games.
76% of parents have rules about games their child can play.

Digital Australia Report 2018 by Interactive Games & Entertainment Association

 

About TikTok

VIDEO SHARING

AGE 13

TikTok is described as “the world’s leading destination for short-form mobile videos”. Using smartphones, people capture and share moments of their everyday life. In 2018, TikTok was one of the world’s most downloaded apps.

TikTok produces a Community Well-Being series with information on how users can make the most of various safety and privacy tools. Some of the key tools are being able to keep your list of liked videos private by going to Privacy and Settings – click on the three dots in the top right corner. Then go to “Who Can See the Videos I’ve Liked” and choose between All or Me.

Users can keep the videos they make themselves private by choosing “Private” on the video posting page where it asks, “Who Can View This Video”.
By default, initially TikTok accounts are public – so you need to actively switch to a private account. Parents can get advice on safety for children on TikTok at support.tiktok.com

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