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Virtual reality has become up close and personal

The world can be an exciting and dangerous place. Cyberspace—the world’s biggest public space—is just the same.

While the internet can be a great tool for research, communication and entertainment there are also some risks.

On Wise up to IT, four young people tell their stories about cyberbullying, online stalking, internet security and online grooming. Their stories explain what happened and how they dealt with the situation.

The video clips prompt users to think about who they are really chatting to online, what personal information they are posting and whether or not their computer is protected from scams and spyware.

Each clip is between two and four minutes and is accompanied by support material including a handout, lesson plan and a copy of the video script.

The Wise up to IT DVD is also available free of charge. Order online or telephone the Australian Communications and Media




Lauren's Ordeal

Lauren:

There’s no denying that the internet’s an invaluable part of my life, you know... I don’t know what I’d do without it.

Brian:

I can sit at home in my bedroom and access a massive amount of information. I can download music and programs.

Sarah:

I can log on to Messenger or a chat room and communicate with friends and family or other people who could be anywhere in the world.

Jeremy:

You can use it for anything, from doing research for a school assignment or playing online computer games with other people.

Lauren:

What I never realised is that the internet is just another public place.

Brian:

Things that can happen to you in real life, can just as easily happen to you online. ‘Online’ is real life too.

Sarah:

People think that just because there’s a screen in front of you then you’re safe and that people can’t hurt you.

Jeremy:

But the dangers are just as real online. And at the end of the day really it’s impossible to know who you might be talking to.

Lauren:

I never knew there was such a thing as cyberbullying until it happened to me. Suddenly all the things that I used for fun and to talk to people were being used to attack me.

Brian:

I’ve always been aware of internet security but I didn’t know that downloading some free software could lead to so many problems. People don’t realise how many scams there are out there.

Sarah:

I use chat rooms a lot and I’m always really careful who I talk to, but I was shocked how easy it was for someone to stalk me based on the tiny little pieces of information I’d revealed about myself. It’s scary.

Jeremy:

I’d heard stories of kids who met their online friends, and I thought nothing bad could really happen to me. I mean, the guy I became friends with seemed so nice and genuine – I was convinced that he was for real.

Lauren:

But you know, you shouldn’t be scared of the internet or avoid it.

Brian:

You just need to know what the traps and dangers are.

Sarah:

And have the skills and knowledge to effectively deal with situations that could become abusive or threatening.

Jeremy:

The internet is, after all, just another public place and you need to be aware of the risks and dangers there are, and just be careful in general.