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Leonie Smith interviewed on Sixty Minutes with regards to recent cyber bullying case with Charlotte Dawson on Twitter
Leonie Smith – The Cyber Safety Lady.
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For Leonie Smith being a “Mummy Geek’ is a badge she wears with pride. As a mum of 4, her children’s ages range from 12 to 28 years, and with her extensive experience with online communities and computing she is perfectly equipped to be a spokesperson for cyber safety.
As “The Cyber Safety Lady” she writes about cyber safety on her website and for other publications, facilitates talks to families, parents, educators and public forums on the importance of cyber safety for families.
Her recent transition into presenting and keynote speaking was an easy one for Leonie. With 20 years’ experience as a performer and entertainer, she has a speaking style that is entertaining, fresh, humorous and engaging.
As the main cyber mum of “the Cyber Safety Lady” and founder and owner of Social Media Computing Solutions Company “Digital Breezes”, Leonie has become an advocate and sort after campaigner for cyber safety in Australian homes.
Leonie Smith's online journey began in 1996. As a new mum with a premature baby she went in search of support, the lack of information and guidance in Australia led her to online support forums in the U.S. Then with her son’s diagnoses of deafness and other disabilities, her search and frustration led her to help build an Australian online forum for parents in partnership with another parent. The website, http://wwwaussiedeafkids.com/.au is now the largest support group of its kind in Australia for parents of children with hearing impairment. With both her sons diagnosed with different special needs, Leonie has been a co-moderator and regular participant of online communities for support networking and education for over 15 years.
As an Actress/Singer of over 30 years, Leonie’s performing background also includes extensive experience online as well as on stage. Leonie was one of the first Australian musicians to use the Internet to market her jazz music starting in the year 2000 using www.mp3.com, Soundclick, Myspace and iTunes to sell and market her three jazz albums.
Virtual Online Fame!
In 2006 Leonie created an online Avatar/Persona “Paisley Beebe” in the virtual online gaming world of Second Life, initially to play her live music with her band in front of an online global audience.
Always an early adopter of online applications, Leonie was the first female Australian musician to play live music in a virtual world. She brought her real life band in with her, and built them all look-alike avatars. Her band sometimes featured the legendary Jazz guitarist George Golla, Ray Aldridge on Piano, and Craig Scott on Double base, and many other Australian leading jazz musicians. Leonie played over 100 live broadcasts to thousands of listeners in Second Life, a virtual world with millions of users, where she also sold many of her albums as a result.
Leonie also hosted Friday Jazz @ 5 for on the Sydney radio station 99.3FM from 2004 to 2007. When Leonie saw the potential for a larger audience online in Second Life, she created and hosted (as her avatar Paisley Beebe) the first virtual world T.V show “Tonight Live With Paisley Beebe”.
This world’s first T.V show was filmed and broadcasted live online on www.treet.tv a Melbourne online broadcaster, from 2007-2011. As Paisley Beebe, Leonie interviewed over 600 online guests. The show remains the highest rated online virtual T.V show ever created. Many other virtual T.V shows were created and modeled on the technology that Leonie and Treet.tv used to film and produce this show.
Due to the huge popularity of this unusual T.V show, filmed with online avatars in a virtual animation like studio, Leonie was soon known as the virtual “Oprah” of Second Life. As Paisley Beebe she grew a huge fan base online and attracted over 20 thousand viewers a week. Search Google for “Paisley Beebe” and you will find far more entries for her alternate online name than her real name of Leonie Smith due to her online virtual fame! Starting in 2006 Leonie used early social media and other online applications to build both a Second Life and real life fan base.
Leonie attracted some very high profile guests, on her virtual T.V Talk Show who were happy to don an Avatar and get into the pioneering spirit of the show, including Emmy Nominated Director Robert Kenna, Eric Whitacre the World famous Choir Conductor, Tony Dyson the creator of R2D2 from Star Wars and many other musicians, authors, community workers, artists and designers.
Leonie also went on to create and produce two other T.V shows in Second Life with Treet.tv. “Fabulous Fashion with Angie Mornington” and “Live n Kickin” a virtual live music show, some of these shows are featured in the "National Film and Sound Archives". In 2010, Leonie was invited to the opening of the Melbourne "Australian Centre for the Moving Image" where she is featured on permanent exhibit as a contributor to Australia’s history of media.
Leonie Smith: Digital Breezes and The Cyber Safety Lady
With all of this online experience, it was a natural progression for Leonie to start her social media, computing solutions company Digital Breezes early in 2011. It was the perfect combination of her online community building, online marketing experience and thorough knowledge of online social applications including Second Life, YouTube, MySpace, Flickr, Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, and LinkedIn which she used extensively to market her music and her T.V show. Leonie designs social media campaigns and advises small business on computing.
Having 4 children, the oldest started using the Internet in 1995, Leonie became adept at cyber safety, because of her understanding of computing and social media she was easily able to supervise their computer and Internet use. Over 15 years Leonie had implemented all the safety settings for computers and online platforms, in her house (6 computer household) and learned how to make sure she knew what her children were up to and where they were going online.
Whilst Leonie clearly embraces computers and the Internet, she understands too well the need for balance with other activities for all the family, setting limits and rules around usage, and implementing good solid safety around the Web.
With her boys now in high school, Leonie witnessed through her own parent circles the growing need for advice and information for parents to understand the pitfalls and perils of online safety. Other parents were coming to her for advice.
It wasn’t long before Leonie was asked to hold a talk for the parents of her son’s year 8 class on the subject of social media and cyber safety. This has led to Leonie giving talks in other schools, and being asked to write and be interviewed about Cyber Safety for media including ABC Tech & Gaming website, Peninsular Living magazine and Connect 2 Mums magazine. The cyber safety talks began with mum’s at her son’s school asking Leonie for advice, and has now grown into a full time speaking calendar.
As a speaker and presenter, Leonie draws on her extensive Internet and computing experience to speak to parents at schools and public forums. Importantly, her experience as a mum of 4 allows her to closely identify with parents concerns and fears. Her extensive experience in the entertainment industry provides Leonie with a speaking style that is engaging and entertaining.
What Do Parents Gain?
Leonie feels that parents have been left out of the loop with Cyber Safety. Leonie is passionate about helping parents catch up to the kids. Communication around computers, gaming and social media is a big message that Leonie emphasises in her talks, gaining trust and setting clear and easy boundaries, rather than asking parents to “Spy” on their children and become Cyber Cops.
Parents are desperate for online education about gaming, social media and the Internet, and Leonie presents it in a way that is educational, informative, and entertaining.
Parents leave Leonie’s talks with more understanding of their children's online lives, ideas to help with supervision and setting boundaries, and a Manual that outlines some simple step by step settings you can take home and use right away to protect your children from seeing adult content online by mistake.
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