A new internet safety resource for teenagers has been rolled out this week by Education Minister Richard Bruton.
The new ‘Be in Ctrl’ resource has been developed in partnership with An Garda Síochana to support teachers to address the topic of online sexual coercion and extortion – often referred to as ‘webcam blackmail’.
‘Webcam blackmail’ is when scammers trick their victims into performing sexual acts in front of their webcam, and then threaten to share the footage with the victim’s family and friends if they refuse to pay them.
‘Be in Ctrl’ contains three lesson plans, an information pack for school leaders, and will be supported by a Garda Schools’ Talk. The resource will be available for all schools to order, or access online, for free.
The resources are intended for use as part of the Junior Cycle SPHE curriculum and will help students understand that online sexual coercion and extortion of children is a crime; raise awareness of safe online communication; and know when to seek help and report incidents.
The Department of Education says that it recognises the concern expressed by parents and teachers on the use of new technologies by children, particularly social networking apps such as Snapchat that automatically erases messages once the app is closed.
Assistant Commissioner John O Driscoll of Special Crime Operations says that An Garda Síochána is pleased to partner with Webwise in the development and launch of this important initiative.
“Awareness raising of the nature intended, is undoubtedly an extremely important aspect of combating online child exploitation,” he said.
“The benefits that can arise from implementing preventative measures regarding the issue involved, cannot be overstated. Posting or uploading explicit images or videos on social media, or passing such imagery to others online, is extremely dangerous and has potential to cause devastating and lifelong consequences for children and their families.
“Both parents and children should be aware of the dangers involved and the Garda Síochána advise that explicit images should never be posted or shared online. Any child who receives a request to share explicit photographs should not do so. If a child receives a request of this nature, we urge them to tell a parent and immediately make contact with the Garda Síochána who will provide advice regarding how the matter can best be handled.”
Launching the resource, Richard Bruton, Minister for Education and Skills said: “We want to ensure our children are kept safe online. Today’s announcement is part of a suite of supports we offer schools in playing their part to ensure that our children are protected online. I’m delighted to launch this resource, which was developed in partnership with An Garda Síochana and I encourage all schools to engage in this very important area.”
Ciara O’Donnell, National Director, PDST, explains: “National and international research has consistently shown that the qualified classroom teacher has the capacity to positively impact students’ attitudes, values and behaviours.
“They are therefore well placed to work sensitively and consistently with students. This resource should greatly assist teachers in their engagement with students on issues associated with online sexual coercion and extortion.”
To learn more, you can visit Webwise ‘Be In Ctrl’ by following this link: