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Warning after images shared online

A Wairarapa college is urging parents to talk to their children about the dangers of sharing images after an “explicit” video of a student was posted online.

Police were called to the college last week after a complaint was made when the video appeared on social media.

The video was recorded out of school and screenshots were later shared online.

Since then the college in question has worked with the students involved as well as members of the wider community to make sure the images were deleted online and from all known devices.

A spokesperson for the college said situations such as this one were “extremely serious”.

“Everyone has to take responsibility to keep our young people safe.

“In our school, we ensure our students are aware of the dangers of being irresponsible with social media.

“Our staff go through a ‘Responsible use of [Information and Communications Technology]’ set of procedures at the beginning of term one every year with all students.

“We stress how personal information can become permanent once it is posted online.

“We also emphasise how quickly things can escalate and how far the reach can be with all forms of social media.”

The student in question was now receiving the appropriate support, they said.

The spokesperson said the college was now urging all parents and caregivers to speak with their children about the dangers, and the need to be very careful about sharing personal information.

“It is very important that everyone looks out for each other, especially when something that seems quite innocent has a real potential to destroy lives.

“We talk about this regularly throughout the year during our assemblies.”

A police media spokeswoman said the student had sent the video of themselves to another person, who had uploaded it to the internet.

Police were investigating, and those involved were being offered support.

Netsafe guidelines around “sexting” – the sending of intimate images to another person – say that once information is online it is difficult to get back.

“It is all about controlling your image.

“Once an image has been shared you lose control of it.

“No matter how much you may trust the person you send it to at the time, it makes it hard to control what happens next.”

The organisation encourages parents to have honest discussions with their children about staying safe online.

A full list of resources for both parents and young people can be found at www.netsafe.org.nz.

Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland
Emily Ireland is Wairarapa’s Local Democracy Reporter, a Public Interest Journalism role funded through NZ On Air. Emily has worked at the Wairarapa Times-Age for seven years and has a keen interest in council decision-making and transparency.

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