Elise (Rhian Phineasa) is bullied on Chat

Elise (Rhian Phineasa) is bullied on Chat

Week 1 Torres News Feature Article

Teens and mobile phones

This week on Kasa Por Yarn, Elise is coping with bullying and carryarn on chat.

“This storyline came from young people at workshops on TI last year,” explains Sylvia Tabua, the community consultant.

Chat rooms like Diva Chat and Chat Zone are a huge part of teens’ social lives. They can contain images and messages that are bullying or sexual.

Safekids.com describes ‘sexting’ as where teens share nude photos via their phones. Sometimes it’s flirting, impulsive, or even a response to bullying or blackmail. Parents can talk to teens about the dangers of sexting. Pictures can be sent around by an ex-friend to everyone you know and end up online for people to search for pretty much forever.

A Thursday Island father of two teenagers said monitoring mobile phone use was a constant struggle. “You want to know what they’re up to but at the same time you don’t want to invade their privacy,” he said.

“We talk to our kids about the dangers of mobile phones. You’ve got to communicate with them,” he said. “We also confiscate the phones at 7pm or 8pm at night. Otherwise they’ll keep texting all night.”

Safekids.com has the following tips for parents:

1) Be safe: Kids need to think about who they text with. They should never text about sex with strangers.

2) Bullying by phone. Explain that the same manners and ethics you’ve always taught them apply on phones and the Web as in “real life.”

3) Media-sharing by phone. Teens need to understand their own and others’ privacy rights in sharing photos and videos via cell phones.

4) ‘Smart phones.’ Ask your phone company whether they have filters available for internet access via mobile phones.

If you’re worried about a video, image or text your teen has received, contact the police for advice.

Kids can chat to a counsellor online at www.kidshelp.com.au or call 1800 55 1800.

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