Caffeine chaos out of control for gamers: Doctors slam drugs which ‘help’ you play all night

The Daily Telegraph

KIDS who play video games are being encouraged to take caffeine-loaded “supplements” to boost their reaction times and help them stay up all night playing.

Best Enemies director Ross Bark, who runs cyber-safety courses in NSW schools, said “gaming supplements” were a growing problem parents needed to be aware of.

“Schools are having issues with students crashing in class after spending all night playing games,” Mr Bark said.

“It can have a real impact on their school work, their relationships and mental health. I think one of the issues is with teenager boys in particularly. They don’t see taking large amount of caffeine as a serious thing or something that carries health risks.”

Read the full article in The Daily Telegraph here

Australian children’s personal information is being sold online after being stolen from gaming sites

The Daily Telegraph

POPULAR video games such as Fortnite and Minecraft are being used to harvest children’s personal data by web fiends who flog it to anyone willing to stump up the cash.

Cyber-safety expert Ross Bark said crooks could use a child’s username and password for a gaming site like Fortnite to extract more information including phone numbers, credit card details, dates of birth and home addresses.

“Websites like Fortnite ask users to hand over a lot of personal information, which is very valuable to criminals,” Mr Bark said. “The account details would usually be purchased in bulk by the hundreds.”

Read the full article in The Daily Telegraph here

Tips for parents to ensure their young children’s safety online.

The TODAY Show – Channel 9

Here’s a frightening number for you – 72 million pieces of data on average are being collected from a child before they turn 13. What can parents do to keep their children’s private information safe?

Watch Ross Bark’s interview on The TODAY Show to see how we all need to be careful about the information we share online.

Cyber-trolls and online bullies: Call for bans amid spate of teenage suicides

The Daily Telegraph

CYBER-BULLIES would be banned from social media and slapped with an online­ version of an apprehended violence­ order as part of a radical plan to stop trolls.

Anti-bullying charities are using a powerful parliamentary inquiry to call for a criminalisation of trolling — including giving child cyber-bullies a social media order (SMO) that would ban them from contacting their victims and using sites such as Facebook and Instagram.

It comes after 14-year-old Amy “Dolly” Everett took her own life on January 3 after being targeted by bullies online.

Cyber-safety expert Ross Bark, who runs education courses across NSW through his company Best Enemies, agreed the creation of an “SMO” would be helpful.

“It would be useful to be able to ban offenders from Facebook, Instagram and social media but it would need to be coupled with education so they can actually learn the very real effect they are having on their victims,” Mr Bark said.

Read the full article in The Daily Telegraph here

Kids are being exposed to disturbing content on YouTube

A Current Affair – Channel 9

The summer holidays are peak internet season for families – but parents have been warned about a trend of violent, graphic cartoons specifically designed to target children.

The cartoons feature beloved children’s characters such as Peppa Pig, Spider-Man and Elsa from Frozen, but feature gruesome acts including murder, cannibalism and pornography.

“Your child could be viewing the Peppa Pig video which could be a proper video, and in one second they could be watching something completely inappropriate, which they think is the same thing,” Cyber Expert Ross Bark told A Current Affair.

Watch the full story and my comments from last weeks A Current Affair.

Year 7 students suffering high school anxiety need help

The Daily Telegraph

PRIMARY school students making the transition to high school need to be given extra support from teachers and parents to stop episodes of anxiety and depression being triggered by the upheaval.

Ross Bark runs programs across NSW helping children make the switch from primary to high school.

“Students face a lot of anxiety about this time period which can spiral into more serious issues. In primary school they’ve developed an established group of friends and understand how they fit into those groups, so the change can be overwhelming for a young ­person.” he said.

Read the full article in The Daily Telegraph here

Pre-Teens at Risk in Sick ‘Upskirting Pranks’

The Daily Telegraph

CHILDREN as young as 12 are now becoming victims of “upskirting” and “downblousing” from their own peers in a sick new craze inspired by twisted online video “pranks”.

Cyber safety expert Ross Bark, who teaches courses across NSW schools, said upskirting was a growing issue.

“There is a very twisted genre of YouTube videos that are teaching children highly inappropriate behaviour,” he said.

Read the full article in The Daily Telegraph here

The sex predators operating online, targeting mobile savvy teenage victims with shock tactics

EXPERTS have warned of the shocking tactics sex predators employ in order to lure unsuspecting child victims, including infiltrating popular mobile apps.

The growing use of smartphones among young Australians is putting them at risk of contact with paedophiles, as well as a bombardment of explicit content.

Cyber safety expert Ross Bark said kids weren’t equipped with the knowledge and maturity to navigate the dangers of the online world.

“People are waiting there (on mobile apps) literally to pounce on these young children,” Mr Bark told A Current Affair.

In a special report, the Channel Nine show looked at various chat, social networking and gaming apps popular among young users. Among those probed was Kik, Snapchat and Musical.ly.

Read the full article on news.com.au here

Smartphone Sleazebags – Cyber Safety

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A Current Affair – Channel 9

Parents would like to think they know what their children and teenagers are up to on their smartphones. But the truth is, they rarely do. In a world hooked on social media apps, online predators easily connect with millions of minors, literally at their fingertips within seconds.

See my comments from tonights A Current Affair. This is a must see – particularly for parents with teens and young children.

View the full story by clicking here