The Tasmanian Government is a forward thinking government which recognised early on that, in order to succeed, our children need to be safe online. The Alannah & Madeline Foundation believes Tasmania has the runs on the board as an early adopter in supporting evidence based cyber safety education to increase the digital skills of our children and reduce bullying and cyber bullying. They take this responsibility seriously.
We welcome the investment it has made since 2016 to build safe, smart and responsible online behaviours to students in all state schools.
Ongoing education is the key to reducing risk and bullying behaviours and the Foundation works closely with Tasmanian schools to implement eSmart, a comprehensive cyber safety framework based on positive behaviour change. We are also providing our Digital Licence to all year 6 students, in partnership with Aurora Energy to raise skills, knowledge and understanding by students to reduce and report cyberbullying.
The Tasmanian Government was one of the first State Governments to introduce the evidence-based cyber safety tool, eSmart Schools, to all government schools as a priority. They identified that cyberbullying is a complicated issue which requires compassionate and effective response mechanisms to support those who are bullied.
The Foundation strongly endorses the recommendations arising from the recent Senate Inquiry into Cyberbullying, particularly recommendations 1 and 2 regarding the need to adopt consistent and agreed definitions of cyberbullying and to treat cyberbullying as a social and public health issue. Australian governments need to continue to invest in preventative and early intervention programs to reduce the incidence. Prevention and clear advice for victims seeking redress should be the priority.
We support Tasmania working cooperatively with other States and the Australian Government to build a consistent approach. There is no doubt more than should be done – technology is constantly changing and we have an ongoing responsibility as teachers, parents and carers to keep up to date. eSmart means that Tasmanian schools (and all of the public libraries) will have implemented a comprehensive approach to cyber safety and digital skills.
The Alannah & Madeline Foundation supports the position put forward by the Tasmanian Government in its submission to the Senate Inquiry into Cyberbullying. We will never prevent all instances of poor behaviour but we can certainly improve the skills, values and practises of our children. The emphasis should be on education and deterrence and Tasmania has established a great framework of support for our schools to grow a smart, responsible generation.
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