Timely warning for Internet users
Regulator, Lefaoali’i Unutoa Auelua has issued a stern warning to parents to be vigilant when their children are surfing the internet.
The warning was issued after reports of a sexual predator who was jailed in New Zealand, reached the Regulator’s office.
“Subsequent to the Online Safety Awareness Campaign (O.S.A.C.) carried out by the Office of the Regulator; a story regarding a sexual predator in NZ came to our attention.
“It was sinister as the dangers that are associated with the use of internet were made even more apparent as the named sexual predator is Andy Samoa who was caught grooming young people.
“That series of events involved the violation and exploitation of children, and Mr Samoa’s name associated with it, practically screams 'where we are from',” said the Regulator.
“We are grateful that O.S.A.C. was rolled out because it means we are mindful of all the consequences that accompany Information Communication and Technology (I.C.T.).
“Needless to say it is not I.C.T. nor the internet, but it's the bad people behind them or are using them that pose the danger.”
She told the Samoa Observer that if there was funding and support, they hoped to conduct a similar outreach for our various communities and groups regarding their respective roles in creating a safer online ecosystem for our children.
“To re-emphasize the messages from O.S.A.C. directed for the parent and guardians, we ask that you not let your child use the laptop or computer or phone in a private area.
“Please set up the station in a common room; be involved in your child’s online activities; remind your child to never give out personal information and we also urge you to set rules about internet use,” she said.
Lefaoali’i said children needed to heed the Online Safety Awareness Campaign theme 'SMART RULES, SMARTER USE'.
“Kids, BE SMART.
S-Safe: Be safe, always make sure you are safe;
M-Meet: Never meet anyone you met online, but if you must, then your parent(s)/guardian/teacher must accompany you to the meeting area which must be in a Public place;
A-Accept: Never accept mails, messages or friend requests from strangers over the internet;
R-Reliable: Always ensure that the information from the internet that you are going to use is reliable;
Tell/Ta'u if you see anything or anyone that makes you scared or uncomfortable, Tell your parents/guardians/teachers/or an adult you can trust, so that they can help you seek appropriate help or report it to Police,” the Regulator said.
Last week in New Zealand, Mr Andy Samoa was sentenced to jail for sexually abusing three teenagers he met online.