Brisbane schools work together to protect students from online attacks

Schools are working together to try and better protect their students from online abuse.
Schools are working together to try and better protect their students from online abuse. Photo: Stocksy

Principals from schools across Brisbane came together on Thursday morning to find out how they could empower their students to better protect themselves online.

Thirty-seven heads of school attended a forum led by Eyes Open Social Media and heard the biggest factor that left children vulnerable online was lack of security.

Specialist Tricia Munn said adults needed to "step up and get educated" when it came to social media platforms.

Five tips for safe social media.
Five tips for safe social media. Photo: Eyes Open Social Media

"The adults get on social media sites, if they get on at all, because their children are using it and they ask the kids how to use it," she said.

"It should be the other way round, if my child wants to use it, I need to get educated and teach my child how to use it as safely as possible."

Ms Munn said Thursday's forum was about educating heads of schools about the risks associated with the lack of social media security and provided schools the opportunity to host a program that would teach students how to securely manage their accounts.

"We educate around the fact that everyone is saying make your account private, secure, but no one is giving the children the tools to do that," she said.

"The security options on social media sites are a lot more confusing than people think they are.

"Most people think it takes a couple of minutes but that is not the case, there are a lot more options for security settings if you know how to look for them."

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Ms Munn said everyone at the forum committed to having further conversations about helping students reduce the risks of online harassment, predation and bullying immediately.

The forum came just weeks after a website featuring naked and near-naked photos of hundreds of Australian women emerged, where people could search based on location and school names.

Ms Munn said tougher security could ensure that each child's personal details remained private.

"It's out of their hands once the content is out there so we need to work on managing the fallout for those children and for those kids that are targeted," she said.

"We need to be managing their recovery and at the same time look at the bigger picture and get on the front foot to educate all children in all of the schools so that doesn't happen again.

"They (the people behind the website) targeted these schools, and so they are finding the children by where they go to school."

While securing your account takes time, Ms Munn said in the long run, it was worth it.

"People need to get out of mentality that I am going to spend every waking minute on social media but only five minutes on security settings, it takes time," she said.

Eyes Open Social Media holds Facebook Live safety tips every Tuesday from 8pm. 

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