Electronic Crime Laboratory forensic analyst Matt Taylor
explains some of the dangers teenagers face online. Photo
by Peter McIntosh.
The risks teenagers face from online sexual predators was
brought home at a parent information evening in Dunedin this
The keynote speaker at the event, at Otago Boys' High School
on Tuesday night, Electronic Crime Laboratory forensic
analyst Matt Taylor, explained to parents the risks by using
as examples cases he had worked on. About 150 people attended
The cases he brought up, which were all from the South
Island, included one in which a man used the internet to
convince teenage boys to commit sexual favours, at times
posing as a pretty woman.
Another case involved a man in his late 50s who posed as a
21-year-old man and built up a relationship by text, lasting
three years, with a 12-year-old girl.
The man eventually convinced the girl to send him sexually
explicit pictures via text. Mr Taylor, who works at the
Dunedin police station, said all teenagers were at risk from
either sexual predators or bullying online, but there were
things parents could do to stop their children from becoming
Parents should ''take control'' of when children had access
to the internet and mobile devices.
This meant having a mobile phone curfew and not allowing them
to use computers in their bedrooms.
''You don't want the public in their bedroom,'' he
saidParents should also start an ongoing discussion with
teenagers about the risks they faced online and become
friends with them on Facebook so they could keep an eye on
what they were doing.
The event was supported by the Otago Secondary Principals'
Association, police and the Southern District Health Board.