Safe on Social CEO Kirra Pendergast at a training session with high school students in 2017.
Safe on Social CEO Kirra Pendergast at a training session with high school students in 2017.

EXPLAINED: What to do about 'that' really disturbing video

A LENNOX HEAD Social media and IT consultant who warned parents about extremely graphic and violent content has been watched by thousands around the world by parents, teachers and young people.

The warning came after a post showing a man in an extremely disturbing and violent act was widely shared.

Kirra Pendergast, CEO at Safe on Social, saw her warning replicated across the globe overnight, after doing a mailout to schools in regards to extremely violent content currently available on social media.

"I've had 1.5 million views on my post on Facebook, it's been syndicated across 105 media organisation from Australia to Belgium, India, the UK. the USA, everywhere," she said.

"My job is to keep schools and parents one step ahead of what's happening online, and with that in mind I sent out that message just to give schools the heads up.

"It went bananas because nobody had heard about it."

Safe on Social specialises on training and education on cyber safety for children, parents, teachers and schools.

Ms Pendergast also has a background in corporate cybersecurity and IT.

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She explained that parents need to become more aware of the rules and terms and conditions in social media platforms.

"A lot of parents don't take the time the terms and conditions of use, so they are not aware of what they are allowing their kids to sign up for," she said.

In her video, the expert warns that the video has been shared between platforms and has been 'disguised' behind images of kittens, making the graphic content shocking and unexpected.

A message from Kirra and The Safe on Social Toolkit Team for parents needing support on how to navigate distressing news...

Posted by Safe on Social Media on Monday, 7 September 2020

Ms Pendergast said in the USA, section 230 of the Communications Decency Act 1996, known as the good Samaritan's Provision, offers protection for operators of online companies from civil liability in the removal or moderation of third-party material deemed obscene or offensive, as long as it is done in good faith.

"It abolishes (social media companies) of all liability, the whole onus is on the user, so by this law they literally don't have to take anything down. They are not responsible legally," she explained.

On her Safe on Social Parent Toolkit, Ms Pendergast offers specific tips on how to tackle the issue of social media with children.

"You wouldn't give your child the keys to the car and let them drive off down the highway without lessons. It is the same with devices," she explained.

"Talk as a family about what is OK and not OK to share online.

"For example, whether any member of the family shares a photo of the house or pet's name online, when to share family holiday photos and what ones can be shared, what personal information is not to be shared online.

"Rules must change over time as the need to be developmentally appropriate and slowly build in more trust, independence and freedom," she said.

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