Tasmanian school kids to be further protected online

in News

Tasmanian school students and their families will be further protected online with the support of the Elsie Cameron Foundation.

Our cyber safety framework, eSmart, has been a part of all Tasmanian public schools’ curriculums since 2017, through the backing of the Tasmanian Government.

Now, the Elsie Cameron Foundation’s help will see parents, students and teachers receive more training in online bullying prevention, media literacy, privacy and respectful behaviours.

The new funding will also provide a full time eSmart Support Officer to be based in Tasmania from 2021. This will be welcomed by many communities in Tasmania.

A world-leading initiative, the eSmart framework supports schools and public libraries to embrace the benefits of technology while reducing children’s exposure to cyber risks, such as cyber bullying, online sexual predation, sexting, identity theft and fraud.

Alannah & Madeline Foundation CEO, Lesley Podesta, says the funding is a “fantastic complement to the great work already being carried out by the Tasmanian Government and Aurora Energy to help extend and build on keeping our children safe online.”

Aurora Energy’s partnership with the Foundation has seen all grade 6 students across Tasmania receive an eSmart Digital Licence, an online cyber safety set of challenges that teaches children critical digital skills. To date, 4,445 Digital Licences have been distributed.

The need for our children to be cyber safe and smart online has never been more important, as one of the many effects of the current COVID-19 pandemic has been a substantial and worrying rise in the number of cyber bullying reports, as identified by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.

This means our work in both preventing and helping children recover from the effects of bullying, cyber bullying and violence is vital, Lesley says. 

“The Tasmanian Government’s contribution, as well as Aurora Energy’s support, is so important, but more work still needs to be done to reach more families,” she says.

“As we approach the 25th anniversary of the Port Arthur tragedy, it’s even more important that the Alannah & Madeline Foundation continues its work to keep children safe, as we double-down on our efforts to support the Tasmanian community.”

As a nation, we should all be working to ensure we invest time and resources into raising a generation of smart, safe and responsible children who are capable and compassionate, both online and offline, Ms Podesta says.

A director of the Elsie Cameron Foundation, Ben Swain says he is pleased the foundation could support the Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s important work in Tasmania, as well as across Australia.

“The Elsie Cameron Foundation is pleased to assist the Alannah & Madeline Foundation with this important project to protect Tasmanian children,” he said.

“It’s vital for them to develop engaged, vigilant and critical thinking and to be equipped to be smart, safe and responsible online.” 

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