16 January 2024

Cyber safety expert has sights on Weipa parents

| Chisa Hasegawa
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Child in dark room with laptop

Cyber safety expert says children everywhere are vulnerable to harm online. Photo: SB Arts Media.

Australia’s leading cyber safety expert is heading to Weipa to educate the community on the dangers of the online world and how to keep children safe.

Funded by St Joseph’s Parish School, Susan McLean’s information sessions will provide a rare opportunity for Weipa parents and professionals to get access to the best information available from an internationally recognised presenter.

The sessions will include information on topics such as cyber bullying, digital reputation, grooming, problematic gaming and sextortion.

“The main issues I look at include the facts and the reality of the internet,” Ms McLean said.

“It’s really important to understand these because prevention is always better than cure.”

“If you don’t understand what you’re trying to protect your children or your students from, you’re not going to do a good job, no matter how hard you try,” she said.

Susan McLean presenting

Susan McLean is the foremost expert in the cyber safety field with decades of experience. Photo: Facebook//Susan McLean.

She explained that many adults may be basing their decisions on cyber safety and children’s presence online from their own experiences, which are vastly different.

“Just because you use the platform and it’s OK, it doesn’t mean your child will have a good experience there because the algorithms work differently,” she said.

Having presented all over the country, she said cyber safety is as significant of an issue in rural and remote communities as it is in capital cities.

“I think in more rural and remote communities, there is a sense of ‘I live in the middle of nowhere, it’s a nice, laidback lifestyle, the issues of a capital city sort of don’t really reach us so my kid is safe’,” she said.

“That’s not really how it works on the internet because isolated children anywhere are more vulnerable to online harm.”

She also believed children in remote and rural communities may have more difficulties with accessing help if they were to be targeted online.

“If there were some kids affected by an online issue, I’m guessing there aren’t 20 private psychologists in town just waiting for the next patient,” she said.

So once something has happened, these kids are often behind the eight ball because there isn’t the facilities in town to deal with the issue.”

Ms McLean is the founder of Cyber Safety Solutions, one of the most in demand and highly respected cyber safety consultancies in Australia. She is also sought after internationally and boasts an extensive list of qualifications and experience, including being the first Victorian police officer to have a position involving cyber safety and young people.

Her cyber safety sessions will be held at St Joseph’s Parish School on Thursday (January 18).

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