In the Media
The Carly Ryan Foundation and online safety in the media:
eSAFETY AND MENTAL HEALTH STEERING GROUP CALL TO ACTION - #NDA2018
The eSafety and Mental Health Steering Group is urging Australians to understand the realities of cyberbullying and its nexus to online wellbeing.
Parents and educators are understandably concerned about this issue, and so are we, as some of the country’s leading online safety and mental health organisations. Recent focus on the serious issue of cyberbullying in the media has further raised concerns and ignited an important national discussion.
There’s no question that technology is becoming a more persistent fixture in young people’s lives, and as this occurs the number of young people experiencing cyberbullying may increase. We also acknowledge the strong parental concerns about this issue, and that more needs to be done to tackle this problem. But it is important to note that over the past five years consistent research demonstrates that the rate of young Australians who have been cyberbullied remains at one in five. This is one in five too many, and there are a number of efforts underway to tackle these issues on several fronts. No one should experience cyberbullying.
What is of concern to the child support and mental health community are recent reports that cyberbullying directly and inevitably leads to suicide. Research shows that suicide is in fact a complex, individualised tragedy with multiple contributing factors, of which cyberbullying may be one. There is nothing more devastating than the loss of a child and we, as a collective, want to prevent future tragedies from happening. Suggesting there is such a direct link between cyberbullying and suicide may contribute to a copycat effect. This may lead vulnerable teens and children to consider suicide as a viable option, before seeking out other forms of available support. Mindful discussions about suicide and the contributing factors can change public misperceptions and correct myths, and also encourage those who are vulnerable or at risk to seek help. We believe that we need to reframe the discussion around suicide and online wellbeing, and give parents, educators and young people the tools they need to understand the issues, problem solve and engage constructively. We have world leading cyberbullying and mental health services and advice available, including evidence-based e-mental health services.
We want to make sure Australians know where these services sit, and can access them. We want to acknowledge that the online world can be a powerful force for good – building community and resilience, and providing access to education and support. Many young people turn to online spaces first when seeking help for issues with their mental health.
All of our organisations here can help parents, educators and young people themselves find solutions-based pathways for their specific situation and can help improve their mental health and online wellbeing.
This National Day of Action, we want young people to know they do not need to suffer in silence, or alone, and that there is indeed help.
Our collective call to action for #NDA2018 includes:
• For parents concerned about cyberbullying, talk to your child early and often about what they are doing online. Let them know you’re there to help, no matter what.
• For young Australians experiencing cyberbullying, we encourage them to report the cyberbullying to the eSafety Office at www.esafety.gov.au, to help get cyberbullying material taken down from social media sites.
• For Australians in need of psychological support, help with online issues, and support with bullying there are a range of mental health services, online safety and anti-bullying organisations that can assist: www.esafety.gov.au/online-wellbeing-hub.
* For guidelines on responsible reporting of suicide and mental wellbeing, go to - www.mindframe-media.info/
• Alannah and Madeline Foundation
• Australian Multicultural Foundation
• Black Dog Institute • Butterfly Foundation
• Carly Ryan Foundation
• Kid’s Helpline
• Lifeline Research Foundation
• Minus 18
• Office of the eSafety Commissioner
• Project RockIt
• Think U Know
Election campaign call for Carly's Law in SA
On the 11-year anniversary of the murder of 15-year-old South Australian Carly Ryan by an online predator, the Foundation named in her honour is calling for Carly’s Law to be introduced in SA.
The renewed push coincides with the state election campaign officially kicking off on the weekend, ahead of the March 17 poll.
Founder and CEO of The Carly Ryan Foundation and Carly’s mum, Sonya Ryan, said the 20th of February was an unbelievably difficult day each year for Carly’s family and friends but she’s driven by what has already been achieved through Carly’s legacy.
"Last year, following the 10-year anniversary of Carly’s murder, the CRF successfully campaigned for Carly’s Law to be inserted into the Commonwealth Criminal Code and I hope to see the same bipartisan support in SA," Sonya said.
"All Australian jurisdictions have a responsibility for combatting child sex offences and SA should ensure it has properly filled the gap in legislation here.
"SA-Best has guaranteed they will introduce a bill for Carly’s Law if any of their candidates are elected. I call on the Labor and Liberal Parties to pledge their support for Carly’s Law in the next parliament."
The proposed state legislation is the original form of Carly’s Law which makes lying about your age to a child online and attempting to meet that child, a crime.
Garry Newman, the 50-year-old paedophile who murdered Carly, posed as an 18-year-old musician from Melbourne to deceive her for 18 months through online contact and phone calls.
At a Commonwealth level, while broad in that any act in preparation to cause harm or engage in sexual activity with a child is outlawed, Carly’s Law requires that police prove there is intent to commit harm.
This year, the CRF has also launched ‘Project Connect’, its new online safety seminars for students from year 5 to year 12 and for parents and the community.
"Community education is the most important element of preventing crimes from occurring in the first place," Sonya said.
"The CRF’s online safety seminars have reached more than 100,000 South Australian children so far and many more around the country.
"Project Connect builds on that work with topics not just including online safety, but also emotional intelligence, image-based abuse resilience, understanding the law, empowerment and connection to support services.
"High school students can also access sex education workshops that cover healthy relationships, impact of online pornography, consent and coercion, and referral services and support.
"Both Carly and I would have benefitted from Project Connect immensely 11 years ago and I strongly encourage every school and parent to reach out to us to discuss the seminars or other resources we can provide.
"Carly’s Law is vital to ensuring our law enforcement agencies are able to intercept perpetrators but our kids and parents must know what behaviours and communications to look for and report and how to protect themselves even before the police step in."
For more information on Project Connect email: email@example.com
Media contact: Karina Natt - firstname.lastname@example.org
Carly's mum's new ally to fight sex predators
Carly Ryan Foundation CEO and Founder Sonya Ryan has welcomed the funding commitment from the South Australian Government, announced today.
The State Government will invest about $660,000 to help the Carly Ryan Foundation continue its vital work educating young people about the dangers of cyber bullying and online predatory behaviour. The funding will cover the cost of trained presenters, staff and the ability to offer support services for victims of crime and the continuation of the Foundation’s programs in schools.
The Carly Ryan Foundation is a non-profit harm prevention charity established after the murder of 15-year-old South Australian Carly Ryan by an online predator, to promote internet safety and help prevent crimes against children and young people.
The State Government has committed to providing about $220,000 in funding each year for the next three years.
“I'm so pleased the State Government has recognised the value of the Carly Ryan Foundation and leveraging Carly's legacy to help prevent harm to children,” Ms Ryan said.
“Through this funding commitment, the CRF will be able to continue to offer direct support to young South Australians and their families.
“By empowering children and the broader community through education and awareness we can tackle issues like bullying and online predators to prevent negative and harmful actions and keep kids safe.
“It's wonderful that the CRF will now be able to expand its reach, not just in the delivery of seminars and workshops, but by continuing to contribute to the national discussion on tackling bullying and cybercrime, supporting victims and campaigning for law and policy reforms which enhance the protection of children and the delivery of justice.”
Education and Child Development Minister Susan Close said: “Cyber bullying and online predatory behaviour has no place in our community and can have disastrous consequences.” “The Carly Ryan Foundation’s approach is about building on the emotional intelligence of young people, enabling them to make better choices, have self-respect and build resilience,” Minister Close said.
“So far, the Carly Ryan Foundation has visited more than 400 schools in South Australia – providing support to more than 100,000 students and the State Government funding will be used to deliver more workshops
“Sonya Ryan has turned the tragic loss of her daughter Carly into a positive initiative and the State Government is pleased to be able to ensure her hard work continues for years to come.”
eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant also welcomed the announcement.
“I am delighted to hear about the South Australian government support for the incredible Carly Ryan Foundation,” Ms Inman Grant said.
“As one of our Certified Online Safety Providers, we have seen how Sonya Ryan makes important connections with young people by telling her harrowing story and engages them in a way that really resonates and encourages them to take charge of their own online safety journey. “Sonya makes a valuable contribution to the Online Safety Consultative Working Group and this support will enable her to focus on what she does best—making the internet safer for young Australians.”
Tragic loss of Libby Bell: joint statement from Julie Inman Grant and Sonya Ryan
The Office of the eSafety Commissioner and the Carly Ryan Foundation acknowledge the trauma and pain caused within the Adelaide community following the tragic death of teenager Libby Bell who committed suicide following a reported campaign of bullying directed toward her, both online and offline.
“No child or family should have to experience such a heartbreaking tragedy, especially at the hands of bullying and cyberbullying,” says eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant
“Our Office applauds the many friends, family and others who have taken to social media with positive messages of support, and to take a stand against unacceptable bullying behaviour.”
The Carly Ryan Foundation was established by Sonya Ryan, who lost her own teenage daughter in tragic circumstances a decade ago when Carly was murdered by an online predator posing as a teenage boy.
“Loss is loss—there is no escaping the intensity of grief Libby’s parents and family are experiencing right now. I am personally offering my love and support to the family as they go through what no one should ever have to,” says Ms Ryan
“For every young person and for every adult experiencing pain or grief or the effects of negative behaviours such as cyberbullying—when there seems like there’s no way forward—know that you can reach out, that help is available.”
In dealing with cyberbullying and other online issues, the eSafety Office and the Carly Ryan Foundation believe in an holistic approach, working with the person being targeted, their family, their school, social media services, and when necessary, the police, to help address the issue.
“We all have a role to play in tackling these issues, and laws have their place in dealing with unacceptable behaviour in our society. However, it’s vital to raise awareness of the tools and resources that can prevent negative actions,” says Ms Inman Grant
“While laws can address the damage after the fact, they may not serve as a deterrent to teenagers, whereas education and early intervention can prevent devastating outcomes.”
The Carly Ryan Foundation works with schools across South Australia and the nation to empower young people to keep themselves and others safe while navigating the internet and apps.
“I see so many young people who think it is a sign of weakness to ask for help. When they learn that help is available, that they can take action, it has a life-changing effect,” says Ms Ryan.
If you know a young person experiencing serious cyberbullying, help is available. Any Australian under the age of 18, or an adult authorised by the young person, can report cyberbullying to esafety.gov.au/reportcyberbullying.
If you or someone you know needs help due to thoughts of self-harm or suicide, call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
For more information or to arrange an interview with Julie Inman Grant or Sonya Ryan, please contact:
02 9334 7873 and 0427 178 689 or email@example.com.
Young Australians will have greater protection from the vile grooming of online predators under tough new laws to be introduced by the Australian Government.
Carly's Law will make it a crime for an adult to use a carriage service to commit an act in preparation for, or planning to, cause harm to or engage in or procure sexual activity with a minor. Importantly, this will include those who misrepresent their age.
Carly's Law is the result of a tireless crusade by Adelaide mother Sonya Ryan, whose 15 year old daughter Carly was murdered a decade ago by an online predator posing as a teenage boy.
This is a testament to Sonya Ryan, who has turned a story about the loss of a life into one that will now save many lives. For a decade she has tirelessly worked to achieve an outcome that would better protect young Australians in the online world.
Now, she has achieved what she set out to do; a law that will protect young Australians and serve as an enduring legacy for Carly.
Carly's Law will enable law enforcement agencies to take action against predators sooner and with greater consequence. It will give police the power to intervene before predators have a chance to act, and will also serve as a strong deterrent, with a tough new sentence of 10 years prison for convicted offenders.
"We thank Senators Nick Xenophon, Skye Kakoschke-Moore and Derryn Hinch for their ongoing efforts to support Sonya Ryan and the Carly Ryan Foundation to see this measure achieved," Minister for Justice Michael Keenan said in a statement.
"Carly's Law complements the Government's ongoing work to counter online sexual exploitation of children, including through the AFP's ThinkUKnow program that educates students, parents and teachers."
Keenan said the law also builds on work the Government initiated with states and territories in October 2016, appointing a working group to review existing and potential initiatives to combat child sex offenders.
The working group will report back before the end of 2017 on operational aspects of sex offender registration schemes, post-sentence court-ordered schemes, the restriction of overseas travel by convicted child sex offenders and public notification schemes.
Photo - Sonya Ryan with Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull following the announcement of the introduction of Carly's Law
Happy 2017 everyone!
As we begin the year we would like to remind you all of the information we have readily available to email you if you have any questions with regards to apps and online games;
and so on...
Remember, in the terms of service of most apps it requires that users be at least 13 years old to use these platforms. Check the app review store before allowing your child/teen to download any app and learn as much as you can about it so you know how to set privacy, turn off location settings, completely understanding how your child can use it while keeping themselves and their family safe.
Safer Internet Day
In support of Safer Internet Day, the Australian Federal Police (ThinkUKnow) and the Carly Ryan Foundation has joined together to launch its Family Online Safety Contract, a tool to help families stay safe by making an agreement around the things they see, say and do online. #SID2016 #onlinesafety #saferinternetday #connection #teamcarly
Thread is now available for Android!
Today, Thread was officially launched in Sydney by eSafety Commissioner Alastair MacGibbon, Minister Susan Close, Senator Nick Xenophon, Google, Kojo and the SA Government.
Download it in the playstore www.thethreadapp.com
Thread is now available at www.thethreadapp.com
A new personal safety app developed by the Carly Ryan Foundation (CRF) which enables children and other users to send emergency alerts and broadcast their GPS location to trusted contacts was unveiled by Education and Child Development Minister Jennifer Rankine on January 28th 2015.
The Thread app - developed with funding from the State Government and Google - is the latest in a range of measures to improve children and young people's safety in our State.
Minister Rankine launched Thread alongside CRF Director Sonya Ryan, and said it will help children and young people become more educated and aware of their personal safety, and give parents discreet contact with their children when they're not in a supervised environment.
“The safety and protection of their children and young people is at the forefront of parents' and carers' minds, which is why we support the Carly Ryan Foundation in supporting and alerting families on how they can help protect their children from the dangers which sadly exist in our society," Ms Rankine said.
The State Government was pleased to contribute to the app's development, and I'm confident it will be a vital tool for families, particularly as children move out into the world on their own.
“This support is one of a range of measures I have introduced to strengthen child protection, including enhanced safety screening of professionals and volunteers who work with children, increased resources for the Child Abuse Report Line and the creation of a dedicated Incident Management Division to improve the way schools report and respond to safety concerns."
CRF Director Sonya Ryan said she hoped Thread would encourage families to talk openly about the importance of regular communication, personal safety and mutual trust.
“While Thread has an underlying focus on safety, it is also about building trust between children and their parents, and making it known that their safety and whereabouts is important," Ms Ryan said.
Ms Ryan said that the devastating loss of her daughter Carly had given her a chilling insight into how easily young people could find themselves alone and exposed if they innocently misplaced their trust.
“Sadly, young people are not fitted with the benefit of experience when it comes to navigating the outside world, and often have more limited financial means, transport and social supports compared to adults; this can make them vulnerable in emergency situations. We wanted to create an app that was not only simple, secure and accessible to a range of different age groups, but also functional within an emergency situation - which is where the GPS messaging and alert features have the potential to make a very real difference."
Some of the app's key features include:
- A compulsory check-in function that allows parents to organise alerts for when their child arrives at their intended destination or misses their scheduled arrival, as well as an ad hoc check-in function for older users to discreetly keep in touch with their families
- An emergency alert function which simultaneously connects users with the 000 and their nominated contacts in an emergency
- Chat and photo functions giving users the power to instantly summon friends for help even in non-emergency situations
- Free to download and use, meaning users can send and receive information without call credits
- A discreet and aesthetically-pleasing design aimed at an increasingly tech-savvy audience
- Automatic email back up function to ensure location, data and other information can be easily retrieved by police and emergency services
- Pin-sensitive to prevent unauthorised use and impersonation
- Links to additional resources including the Carly Ryan Foundation, Google Safety Centre, Youth Beyond Blue, Crime Stoppers, Kids Helpline, Lifeline and Think You Know
The Thread app will be available immediately for Apple users via the Apple App Store. An app designed for Android devices is expected to be available to download on the Google Playstore in March.
Official launch date, 28th January 2015.
More information to come...
Stay Smart Online Week 2014
Stay Smart Online Week takes place from June 2-6.
With Australians seemingly sharing more and more of their information online with each passing day, cybercrime has become one of this country's most common and dangerous threats. Recent hacking attacks on Apple and eBay have proved that cyber criminals are getting bolder with their targets. Add to this the fact that Australians transfer at least $7 million each month directly into the bank accounts of international fraudsters and it's abundantly clear that cyber security should be top of mind for all of us.
Visit the Stay Smart Online Website at www.staysmartonline.gov.au where you can find more information and helpful resources for you and your family, like the free Stay Smart Online Alert Service.
Open discussion within your home regarding safe internet use. Secure all your devices, protect online accounts and protect your child.
Look at the privacy settings on social networking sites and apps and be sure that your child or teen understands the importance of never sharing personal and private information with strangers online.
Remember, there is no such thing as privacy online.
Oz Comic Con 2014
The Carly Ryan Foundation will be at Oz Comic Con on April 5th & 6th in Adelaide!
Come and visit us for free information and merchandise! Stand A1102
We will be visted by some special guests over the weekend so be sure to drop by and say hello!
Premier Jay Weatherill approves Grant for CRF Phone App
Thanks to a $50,000 grant approved by Premier Jay Weatherill, The Carly Ryan Foundation's dream of a mobile phone app that will help protect young people from criminals will become a reality.
Mr Weatherill said community safety was a key priority for the Government and the $50,000 would allow the foundation to continue its important work in developing this safety tool.
The Foundation and local company Kojo will develop the app, updates to come.
The Carly Ryan Foundation officially opened its new office in the Adelaide Hills on Saturday 31st August. This shop front will also act as a safe house and information centre for the community.
Senator Nick Xenophon who joined Ms Ryan to open the centre, said: "This new shopfront means it can be a drop in centre and will drive support for the community".
For further information please email firstname.lastname@example.org
Cyber Security Awareness Week
20th-25th May 2013
With people sharing more and more of their personal information over the web, Cyber Security Awareness Week aims to help all Australians using the Internet - whether at home, in the workplace, or at school - to better understand the simple steps they can take to protect themselves online from scams, invasions of privacy and other attacks on their personal and financial information.