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​Connect, Learn, Engage Seminar – Paul Litherland

Paul Litherland is regarded as one of Australia’s leading keynote speakers on internet awareness. As a WA Police Officer for over 20 years, with five years’ experience in the Technology Crime Investigation Unit, a section at that time that was internationally recognised as one of the leading technology crime divisions in the world. Paul was involved in criminal investigations including hacking, online sales fraud and romance scams, to cases involving international syndicates. He also worked specifically with children (and their families) who were either the victims of online crime, or the offenders themselves. Dealing  personally with the victims of cyber bullying, grooming and predatory behaviour as well as the perpetrators themselves, Paul came to know all too well the heartbreak parents go through, as well as how frustrated they are with how little care the online world seems to show kids and as a result, he felt compelled to drive change. 

One of these ways he drives change is to present to parents and students in schools and we were lucky enough to welcome Paul to our school on July 30th. He spoke to all students in Years 5-10 during the day and then to a group of parents in the evening. Paul is knowledgeable and approachable and I think every child and every parent learnt something new form the information he presented! 

The Top Ten Apps, with Facebook experiencing 16.2 million hits every day, followed by YouTube (14.2million) and Instagram with a rising 11.8 million. Many students and parents did not realise that Facebook owns Instagram. Paul was quick to point out that the Apps themselves are not the problem, it is the misuse of them and encourages parents to become familiar with the popular Apps that their children are using and work with their children to operate within them safely. Often parents do not understand the capabilities of the Apps and often allow their children onto Apps that are too old for them. Many Apps state 13 years as a minimum age due to laws that prevent them ‘mining’ the data of children. 

Fortnite is experiencing 5 billion logs in a month. Fifteen years ago the average age of an online gamer was 21 years, now it is only 14 years. He warned against buying items such as ‘skins’ through gaming sites as the number of scam websites trying to trick children is now up by 576%. 

Cyber flashing 
Paul warned of the dangers of ‘Air drop’ on Apple phones, as ‘cyber flashers’ are dropping rude photographs in shopping centres and on trains. Please check your child’s phone is not named with their first name and Air drop is set to ‘contacts only’ and not ‘everyone’.

New laws have made it illegal to share an intimate image or video of any person, including on social media or a website. It is also illegal to threaten to share any intimate image or video or take any image or video of a person without their consent.

Help for parents

  • Paul’s website; he also welcomes emails from parents.
  • The esafety website: www.esaftey.gov.au
  • Get to know your modem or router at home, set parent time settings, access controls, web filtering. If you need help, call your provider to help you, or Paul has a video on You Tube to demonstrate.
  • Software such as ‘Family Zone’ can help too. They have just released the FZOne Smart Phone with the Family Zone technology in the hardware at a price of $199