Free State learners educated on cyber-crime

By Mosima Mashao, Internal Communication

Issues on cyber bullying and sexting were the order of the day as learners from different schools in and around the Botshabelo West area in the Free State attended the National Child Protection Week event recently.

This year, Child Protection Week (CPW) took place from 31 May to 07 June 2015. The campaign was initiated in 1997 by the Department of Social Development aiming to create awareness about the wellbeing, care and protection of vulnerable groups.

The Free State event, hosted by the department on 6 June 2015, was attended by stakeholders from the Free State Departments of Health; Correctional Services; Social Development; Basic Education; the South African Police Services (SAPS) and the Film and Publication Board. All the stakeholders gave presentations on the dangers and consequences of cyber sexting and bullying.

Ms Pritima Osman, a Senior Legal Administration Officer within the department highlighted the purpose of the event as to educate learners on cyber sexting and bullying.

“This event’s main purpose is to inform learners of the different types of cyber bullying and sexting and the consequences thereof with regards to the law,” she remarked.

Mr Semenyane Makume, a Senior Legal Administration Officer also highlighted that sexting includes the sending of nude or semi-nude photos or videos and sexually suggestive messages through mobile phones.

Explaining cyber bullying, he said it includes the act involving bullying and harassment through the use of electronic devices and technology. “The consequences of such conduct can cause children to suffer from depression, anxiety and drive them to suicide as they would not know where and who to turn to when victimised,” Mr Makume cautioned the learners.

He further mentioned that people found guilty of cyber bullying and sexting could face conviction hence victims of such acts should report it. “Victims under the age of 18 can be assisted by a guardian to report such offences and apply for a protection order at any magistrate’s court,” advised Mr Makume.

One of the learners from Pholoho High School, Lerato Morutle, who attended the event said she now knows that cyber bullying and sexting is an offence and that it should be reported. “Today’s event also taught me that we, as learners, should use the internet for school work such as research for our assignments and nothing else,” she stressed.

Tseki Mpolokeng, also a learner, said cell phones should not be used to send anything of sexual content. “I did not know that by simply sharing or passing on sexual videos and photographs that were sent to me by another contact makes me guilty of cyber bullying and sexting as well,” she expressed.

Another learner, Mpho Shagane said; “Through all the presentations, it made me realise the importance of abstaining from using cell phones or the internet for cyber bullying and sexting as such conduct can get me arrested if reported.”


Published: 10 Jun 2015