Bordertown High School students warned about online dangers

Bordertown High School students were warned about the dangers of the online world by the Carly Ryan Foundation on Wednesday. 

Carly Ryan Foundation CEO and founder Sonya Ryan started the foundation after her 15-year-old daughter Carly was murdered in 2007. 

Ms Ryan said the devastation of losing her daughter to an online predator motivated her to form the foundation and warn children across Australia about the importance of online safety.

“My daughter was groomed by an online predator,” she said. 

“When you go through so much suffering losing a daughter you realise this man isn’t the only one out there online.

“I now dedicate my life to protecting others and spreading awareness.”

Ms Ryan warned students of Bordertown High School to keep their profiles on private and be careful speaking with strangers. 

“We’re all looking for a connection,” Ms Ryan said. “In country areas it can be harder to find connections and it’s easy to meet people online. Just make sure to go with your gut.” 

Ms Ryan told students the online world isn’t all bad. 

“Some really good relationships can be formed online,” she said. “It’s about being aware, safe and having good experiences.

“It’s impossible to know what a person’s background is, so you’ve got to become a bit of a detective when you meet someone online.”

Ms Ryan also spoke about respectful relationships, emotional intelligence, cyber bullying and inappropriate photo sharing. 

“80 percent of self-generated explicit images of young people have been collected and put on other sites,” she said. “Don’t feel pressured to send anything just because someone asks

“Every single person has the right to feel safe and protected.”

Bordertown High School students Whitney and Caitlyn said the online safety seminar gave them some great insights. 

“It was really good for awareness,” Caitlyn said. “There were some things in there I didn’t know and it reminds you to come to your senses.”

For more information on the Carly Ryan Foundation visit http://www.carlyryanfoundation.com/.