Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of true crime podcasts, which isn’t the most uplifting of choices, but I love a good mystery.
The latest series I’ve been listening to is called ‘Felon True Crime Podcast’ and the other night, this episode grabbed my attention, as it focused on social media, which is part of what I have been researching at school, through the Digital Citizenship program I’ve been helping develop.
It features the story of Carly Ryan, who was the first girl in Australia murdered by an Internet predator. Back in the days of the social media platform MySpace, it details elements of teenage romance and rebellion, which ultimately lead to tragedy. This story took place in 2007 – I was in my second year of uni…and a prolific MySpace user. If someone had told me to stop using it, I wouldn’t have. But it’s a situation reliant on positive digital citizenship, which is impacted by peer pressure, social norms and seemingly important communication.
Since Carly’s death, her mother has started the Carly Ryan Foundation to educate young people on the potential dangers of online interactions and has released an app called Thread, which can be found in the iTunes App Store.
Given that there are so many more social media platforms available these days, just 9 years since Carly’s death, I urge you to listen to the podcast and talk to your teenagers about online safety & digital citizenship.