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Ending Digital Child Abuse

Sebastian Bortnik Gives a Sobering Talk About Online Safety

— May 3, 2017 — Keynote Trends
In his talk about online safety, Sebastian Bortnik explains the fact that adults must ensure they are involved in what their children do online, and that they have the proper information and tools to learn how to protect their kids from the dangerous, predatory practice called "grooming."

Bortnik works as an an information security expert and speaker, and is especially passionate about protecting young kids from predators on the Internet. He described the practice of grooming, where adults (usually men) will pretend to be children or women online and will manipulate young kids to share personal information, inappropriate photos and videos, and meet in-person. Bortnik emphasizes that the way this practice is dealt with by parents, educators and legislators is insufficient, as they tend not to see Internet as a "real thing" and do not take the time to teach their children Internet safety, under the false assumption that kids do not need their help when navigating the virtual world.

Bortnik also emphasizes the importance of understanding that abuse online does not only occur if the predator and the child in question arrange a meeting. Abuse does not have to only involve physical contact, it can come in many forms – and he explained this concept using an example of a young child that was manipulated online to share a personal video that is now across the Internet, that everyone is aware of and that will follow her for the rest of her life. As a child without the proper tools, knowledge and awareness on how to protect herself online, it was the responsibility of her parents and teachers to educate her on the subject – one that many around the world are avoiding.