Increasing awareness of protecting children online in South Australia

Increasing awareness of protecting children online in South Australia

6 May, 2010 | changed

The new school based cyber safety program – ThinkUKnow – has proven to be extremely valuable with more than 700 teachers, parents and carers taking part in a presentation of the program since its official launch in January this year.

The program will now be available for families in South Australia and will assist them to ensure they are better prepared to protect their children from online sex offenders, cyber bullies and scammers.

AFP and Microsoft – with the assistance of new partner ninemsn – are expanding the successful ThinkUKnow program to help educate children about cyber-safety and security, and encourage them to think before they act online.

The program, which is being launched at Linden Park Schools in South Australia today, involves AFP and Microsoft volunteers providing free interactive training sessions to enable parents, carers and teachers to educate their children about cyber-safety and security.

AFP Commissioner Tony Negus said the Internet is a wonderful tool for both parents and children, but like any other part of life, there are some dangers.

“This program aims to open the lines of communication between parents and children about online safety,” he said.

“The hope is that young people will be confident going to their parents when they have a problem online, and parents will have a better understanding of how to deal with these issues and where they can go for help.

“The AFP will also continue to work closely with industry, government and local and international law enforcement agencies to protect children online through education initiatives and operations against online sex offenders.”

Microsoft’s Chief Security Advisor, Stuart Strathdee, says a national rollout is important as it provides a significant step towards ensuring the Internet is a safe place for children and families.

“We teach and encourage children to look and listen before crossing the road and the same basic principles apply when it comes to the Internet,” he said.

“Through ThinkUKnow, we’re advising parents, carers and teachers to take an active role in their children’s online lives, just as they would in real life.

“Doing simple things, like having the family computer in the living room instead of in a child’s bedroom, will go a long way in helping create a safe experience.”

Alex Parsons, ninemsn’s Director of Marketing and MSN Products, said the organisation is pleased to be working with the AFP and Microsoft on the ThinkUKnow program.

“At ninemsn, we place immense importance on providing our community with positive and responsible online experiences. The ThinkUKnow program provides just that through invaluable seminars that help bridge the generational knowledge-gap that exists in the online world,” he said.

“With more than seven million Australians using Windows Live each month, it is important for us to be leaders and advocates in online safety.

“The ThinkUKnow program is one way we can act at a very grass roots level and use our knowledge and resources to help share messages of online safety.

“We also look forward to using ninemsn’s vast network to help spread the word about ThinkUKnow to the wider Australian community.”
The credentials of ThinkUKnow have been supported by a 2009 evaluation of the pilot, which identified strong support for the program and the empowering knowledge it provides. This includes how to report online sexual exploitation, inappropriate content, cyber bullying, spam, scams and advice on other safety and security issues.

The ThinkUKnow program originated in the UK and was founded by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) Centre.

Visit ThinkUKnow initiative for further information and resources or to register your school for a presentation.

Some tips from ThinkUKnow

How to stay safe? – Remember the acronym I-CURRB

  • Investigate what your child is doing online.

  • Communicate with your children.

  • Use family safety software to keep track of what your children are able to access online.

  • Research your school’s and Internet Service Provider’s (ISP) policies on cyber-bullying.

  • Report cyber-bullying to your child’s school or ISP in the first instance, or local police if you are concerned for your child’s safety.

  • Block communications from cyber-bullies. Most Instant Messenger sites, chat rooms and email accounts allow you to block messages from identified people.

  • Talk to your children: stay aware of what they are doing online, who they are talking to and what social networking profiles they have. Establish communication so that if your children need help they will be comfortable coming to you.

  • Learn about the Internet: understanding how young people use the Internet and what they enjoy doing will help you to recognise any suspicious or inappropriate behaviour. It will also help you to talk to your children about their online activities if they think you understand the online environment.

  • Reinforce that your child should never meet anyone in the real world they have met online, particularly without being accompanied by an adult, family member or friend.

  • If you are concerned about online behaviour that involved the sexual exploitation of a child you can report it online to the AFP

  • If you believe a child is in immediate danger or risk, call 000 or your local police.

    To keep your children safe from viewing inappropriate content online – such as pornography, child abuse images or terrorist-related material, you can follow these tips:

  • Children under 10 years: monitoring and supervising their Internet use, as well as using a content filter.

  • Children in their pre-teen years: monitoring their Internet use, use a content filter, and discuss appropriate safety guidelines

  • Teenagers: discussing appropriate safety guidelines and how to avoid unsafe situations.

    In order to avoid exposure to inappropriate content online, it is recommended that you consider using:

  • an Internet content filter. Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is required to provide you with access to Internet content filter software and information about how to use it.

  • Communicate with your children about how to stay safe online and what to do if they come across inappropriate content online.
    Inappropriate material can be reported to ACMA.

    Tags: Security, Online Safety, ThinkUknow

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