Media Release: Community connections key to staying safe in the online and ‘real’ world

Release Date: Friday, February 26 2016, 01:30 PM

The Australian Federal Police is working together with its partners and the Carly Ryan Foundation to ensure the community connects safely online and offline at this weekend’s Royal Canberra Show in EPIC, Canberra.

Sonya Ryan, the mother of Carly Ryan who was murdered in 2007 by an online predator, will stand alongside the AFP’s victim-based crime prevention teams to raise awareness about cyber and child safety, and online grooming. The display will also provide information on missing persons, aligning to the National Missing Persons Week ‘Stay Connected’ campaign that will be launched later in the year.

AFP’s Manager Victim Based Crime Commander Glen McEwen emphasised the importance of staying connected with family and friends, and doing so safely.

“The internet, social media, gaming—it’s all part of our daily lives, and it’s absolutely essential that children in particular learn how to navigate the web safely,” Commander McEwen said.

“It’s equally important for parents to get educated on what their children are seeing, saying and doing online, so they can provide the best support possible to their families.”

The display—which will include interactive activities for adults and children—will also be manned by AFP members and Ms Ryan, on-hand to answer questions and offer suggestions to the public.

Families will also be able to enter into a Family Online Safety Contract, an initiative of the AFP and the Carly Ryan Foundation.

“Having open conversations and setting guidelines to ensure the safe, smart use of technologies is what the foundation is all about,” Ms Ryan said.

“The Family Online Safety Contract is a good starting point to ensure everyone has a positive experience online. Parents should fill it out together with their kids, and we can help you do this at the weekend.”

Ms Ryan will also provide information on THREAD, the foundation’s new personal safety app. The app enables young people to ‘check-in’ to advise identified trusted adults that they’ve arrived somewhere safely.

“There are ways to use technology to help families stay connected safely online and offline,” Ms Ryan said.

“Through THREAD, if a check-in deadline is missed, trusted contacts receive a notification. If a child feels threatened, they can activate a personal safety alarm which simultaneously sends their location to trusted contacts and dials Triple Zero (000).”

Commander McEwen said the show was also a valuable opportunity to connect with members of the public to help reduce and prevent the incidence of missing persons.

“Our relationships with organisations such as The Carly Ryan Foundation and the Daniel Morcombe Foundation allow us to effectively spread and reinforce important safety messages,” he said.

“More than 35,000 people go missing in Australia every year, with one-third being under the age of 18.

“The AFP’s Child ID app (modernised version of an identity kit) and the Morcombe’s Child Safety app will also be on display, and we’ll be there to guide parents through the particulars.”

The AFP display is located in the Budawang Pavilion, and will be open for the duration of the show from 26-28 February 2016.

Editor’s note: Interviews and still images are available upon request

Media Contact

AFP National Media: (02) 6131 6333