An Ashburton principal has told a parent to go to police
after their child's identity was used on social media to
harass a teenager.
The incident has put cyber safety under the spotlight,
sparking calls for parents to keep a watchful eye over their
child's activities on social media and the need to report
Ashburton Intermediate principal Gavin Cooper said an unknown
person created a Facebook account this week in the name of a
child at his school and "hassled'' a pupil from Ashburton
"The parent of the child whose name was being used came to us
saying their child was said to be doing this stuff but their
child didn't even have a Facebook page.''
Mr Cooper said he investigated the incident but it was
unclear who created the Facebook page and why they did it.
"We've done as much as we can and informed everyone at school
that this Facebook page is false. We have asked the parent to
go to police and contact Facebook to get it removed,'' he
He said Facebook was blocked at the school, so the culprit
was likely to have used a cell phone or done it out of school
hours if they were an Ashburton Intermediate pupil.
"You shouldn't let a child have free rein - you as a parent
should be responsible. Ask them to show what they are doing
on social media and if they don't show you then something's
up, what is there to hide?
"The identity of the person you're talking to, unless you
know them personally and ask them a personal question they
can answer, you can't always accept they are who you think
you're speaking to.''
Think First project coordinator John Hobbs, who is leading a
campaign to reduce bullying in Mid Canterbury, said the
behaviour was "a new low''.
"Unfortunately there isn't really a way to avoid things like
this happening purely because of the nature of technology and
social networking,'' Mr Hobbs said.
"Thankfully, there are legal consequences now for this sort
of behaviour if charges are laid and I would fully encourage
anyone who is a victim of cyber bullying to do so.''
How to be cyber safe
-Regularly check your privacy settings
-Block offensive posts and profiles
-Report cyber bullying, don't ignore it
-Don't add or accept friend requests from people you don't
-Be careful with apps and read the usage agreement
-Be age appropriate with setting cyberspace rules for kids
Source: Think First, Safer