The Digital Licence has been launched to arm New Zealand students with the digital skills they need to be smart, safe and responsible online.
The Digital Licence, an initiative of the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, combines learning resources and interactive quizzes to teach children how to navigate the online world safely and to consider their choices when learning, playing, socialising and transacting online.
It provides information to children about how to be cyber safe by educating them on what to do if they are exposed to unwanted, inappropriate or offensive content; encounter cyber bullying; and the consequences of putting their privacy at risk when interacting online.
The program was launched at an X Factor-like game show at Point England School hosted by New Zealand reality show host Dominic Bowden.
Google New Zealand has generously made the Digital Licence free to all year eight and nine students around the country.
Alannah & Madeline Foundation Chief Executive Officer Lesley Podesta said with children spending more time online it made sense for them to learn how to be safe and smart.
She said it was like learning to swim.
“Just as swimming teachers don't throw children off the cliff and tell them 'drown or swim', students using the internet need to be guided.
“We don’t think twice about teaching our children to be safe on the road, safe with strangers, safe in the water. So when our children are spending more time online from a younger age, it is our responsibility to ensure that children’s experiences online are both safe and rewarding.
"The Digital Licence steps you through all the risks so that you can swim safely on the waters of the internet. We want most families to feel positive about kids doing the quiz," said Lesley.
Point England School principal Russell Burt said the Digital Licence will be a valuable addition to the skills his students are taught.
"This is an excellent new tool for New Zealand teachers and parents to have in the toolkit, to grow cyber smart values in that tricky year seven to year ten age group," he said.
Alannah & Madeline Foundation cyber safety expert, Jeremy Blackman explains how it was clear that the students were excited and genuinely engaged.
“Hands were going up all over the place, all the students wanted to be a part of it. It’s always great to see how children react to the quiz questions we have created and I was glad to see that it wasn’t a walk in the park for them. The kids were challenged by some questions and thought carefully about them. Students and teachers had the chance to share their knowledge and learn from each other – and this is what we always wanted the product to do,” said Jeremy.
Google New Zealand's Stephanie Davis said it was great to see the Digital Licence introduced to New Zealand schools.
"The Digital Licence ensures that time spent online is positive, constructive and enjoyable," Stephanie said.
The Digital Licence is currently used by more than 200,000 students in Australia.
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