Child Online Protection Program Against Cyber Bullying Launched
Notes from a Native Son returns on October 31, 2013.
Submitted by James Bynoe (CEO, Caribbean Cyber Security Center)
Just this week a (12) year old girl in the U.S committed suicide due to cyber bullying from a 12 and 14 year old who were subsequently arrested and charged by police. This cyber-crime not only took the life of a beautiful young girl it also has significantly impacted the many lives in all three families involved and their community, for years to come.
Like so many of our kids this cyber bullying victim’s mobile phone was the window to her virtual world, but also the door to her cyber-torment. On her last morning alive, the 12-year old girl used her mobile device for a final time, changing her identity on a message sharing application to “That Dead Girl” before sending a farewell note to two friends. Then, instead of going to school, she made her way to an abandoned cement works facility, climbed a tower and jumped to her death.
This young girl’s death should unleashed a wave of awareness about the threat of cyber bullying in the often unruly terrain called the internet, where many children now live out so much of their lives here in Barbados and across the region. She is among the youngest victims driven by the debilitating scourge of online cyber bullying to take their own lives. That those sending her hate-filled messages were equally fresh-faced girls is also all the more shocking.
This sad reality highlights just “one” of the many risk and threats associated with the inappropriate use of the internet “cyber bullying”, and why our regional Child Online Protection Program called “THINK,CLICK,SURF” being launched here in Barbados this week is so critically important and must continue.
We at the Caribbean Cyber Security Center (CCSC) think that cyber security and the threats on the internet are a shared responsibility of government, the private sector and individuals alike, no one organisation or government can address this growing problem alone.
Fortunately we at the Caribbean Cyber Security Center are proud to announce that FLOW has officially become the first major sponsor of our regional “THINK,CLICK, SURF” child online protection program which will be visiting all primary and secondary schools in Barbados and across the region, to raise must needed awareness among our youth on the many risk and threats of the internet from things like “Cyber Bullying”, and “Online Sexual Predators”.
FLOW as an internet and telecommunications service provider is taking a leading socially responsible role in working with the Caribbean Cyber Security Center in ensuring the online protection of our most valuable national assets, our kids. Based on studies conducted our children are more vulnerable and hence need reinforcement of the internet do’s and don’t’s for civic minded campaigns that are geared to assist in the protection of our Caribbean Kids while online. Below are some statistics obtained for international sources which reinforce the point of our collective responsibility to raise the level of awareness of our kids as their usage of the internet increases daily.
82% of online sex crimes are against minors, the offender used the victim’s social networking site to gain information about the victim’s likes and dislikes. (Journal of Adolescent Heatlh 47, 2010)
At least 8 million children go missing each year (International Centre for Missing & Exploited Children)
There are over 747,408 registered sex offenders in the United States, and over 100,000 are lost in the system (National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, 2012)
Both FLOW and the Caribbean Cyber Security Center believe strongly that our Caribbean children have a human right to survive, develop and reach their full potential, without discrimination, bias or favoritism. This interpretation is consistent with the Convention on the Rights of the Child, which pledges the fundamental rights of every child. We at the Caribbean Cyber Security Center would like to publically “Thank” FLOW for placing their support behind this critically important region effort and welcome the support of other public and private sector organizations and businesses in helping to protect “Caribbean Kids While Online”.