Today Tonight will this evening air a chilling story about the identity thiefs, paedophiles and other predators lurking in popular social media networks like Facebook and Twitter, not to mention the reputation damage that can occur if private information is revealed.
The show also reveals Australia’s first Social Media course for parents and individuals to ensure they can protect their children and themselves from this hidden menace.
Mother of two Simone Douglas, the manager of Adelaide RTO Mason College who designed the course, says that as the popularity of these social sites grows, so do the risks of using them. Hackers, spammers, virus writers, identity thieves and other criminals, including sexual predators, follow the traffic.
“Predators are grooming kids on social network sites to do things that we as parents don’t want them to, or don’t know about; because we think our children are talking to other kids,” Simone says.
“The time to act is now before your children are placed in the ‘antennae’ of a paedophile network.”
It is well known fact that children are being groomed by the “bad guys” to do things that they would not normally do, and the holiday time is a prime time for these people, Simon adds.
“Children have time and are spending it on the net. As parents we need to know where our children are on the net, and have the tools to understand how to keep them safe.
“If a predator has access to the database and lives locally they will assume they are part of a network and often let them into their profile.”
Mason College has designed these courses from a parent’s point of view and both the designers and the facilitators have children of their own. They are specifically designed to teach parents and grandparents how to access the internet and how to use the applications that the kids are using.
“As parents and grandparents who care for children, we have a responsibility to attempt to keep pace with the technology they are using.
Simone created the course after searching the internet for a way to protect her own children, nieces and nephews.
“It became obvious that there was a glut of information out there but it was not readily organised into a clear form,” says Simone, who is a self confessed “social media junkie”.
“There was nothing that would allow me as a parent to educate myself on the social media platforms my children and extended family use and the best habits to teach children.”
Simone says that Facebook is “like any new toy”.
“People tend to learn only what they need to in order to make it work. As parents it is beholden on us to make more of an effort where our children’s physical and psychological well-being could be at risk.
Simone designed the course for time poor parents to be comprehensive and hands on, yet take no more than four hours from their busy lives.
“Parents can walk away knowing how to navigate the applications and with the tools and resources they need to teach their children solid protective behaviours around their use of the internet in general and social media in particular.”
About the Social Media Safety Course
Mason College provides training about safe use of the internet. Mason College spent six months developing a course that walks you through this maze step by step and leaves you better prepared to help your children or grandchildren navigate social media in a way that ensures it remains a safe and enjoyable means of keeping in touch with friends and family.
What you will learn:
• Help setting up a Facebook Page, Twitter, You Tube and Skpe Account
• Covering off Live Chat applications such as Yahoo Messenger and Windows Live Messenger
• How to link these applications to your smart phone if you have one
• Tips to help your children navigate Social Media safely
• Resources to help you educate your children and yourselves
Why the Mason College Social Media course is different:
Mason College’s course has been developed in conjunction with psychologists and mental health professionals to ensure that you have relevant information on the behaviours and communication you need to watch out for in order to keep your children safe.
This is a hands on course where you navigate and use the applications. Not only does this teach you solid internet safety principles but it opens a whole new world which you can use to relate to your children on their terms.
About Course Presenter and Designer Simone Douglas
Simone is a 35-year-old mother of two boys aged 3.5 years and 9 months. She is the RTO Manager at Mason College and a Transpersonal Counsellor who also offers Business Coaching and Mentoring.
She has over 13 years’ experience in Corporate Management and Consulting, specialising in Conflict Resolution, Effective Communication, Recruitment, Team Building, Change Management, Transpersonal Counselling and Trauma Resolution.
She has participated in groups in the areas of cognitive behavioural therapy, assertion training, culture change processes, negotiation skills and women’s issues.
She has also run programs in business planning, business management skills for life and creating the life you want.
Simone Douglas, Manager, Mason College
P: 08 8443 4737
M: 0411 166 320