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Life Education's bCyberwise programme
I was pleased to have the opportunity today to see Life Education’s new cybersafety programme, bCyberwise, in action at Roseville Public School in my electorate.
Online safety for children is a big priority for me as Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications, as I have worked to implement the Coalition’s Enhancing Online Safety for Children policy which we took to the 2013 election.
Recently the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act passed the Parliament. This establishes the Office of the Children’s E-Safety Commissioner, and sets out the rules for a complaints scheme, backed by legislation, to get harmful material targeted at Australian children down fast from large social media sites.
Another critically important element of our policy is increased education about online safety for children in schools.
There are a number of well respected providers of online safety programmes in schools, including Life Education.
bCyberwise is a new addition to the Life Education programme, developed with the support of McAfee, now called Intel Security.
David Ballhausen, Chief Executive Officer of Life Education Australia, told me that this cyber safety programme was an obvious addition to Life Education’s curriculum given the impact of the online world on Australian children.
He explained that Life Education’s programme is about promoting good health and safer living – and hence they consider that helping children to navigate their way safely around the online world is part of their remit.
Last year 58,000 students participated in the bCyberwise module.
In my view it is very important that we empower children to use technology safely.
The internet is a wonderful tool for children - but it can also expose them to some risks. Programmes such as bCyberwise help children to develop understanding and awareness about how to use the internet safely and what to do when they don’t feel safe.
It is encouraging to see children interacting with a programme in a positive way and having fun whilst learning.
I was impressed with what I saw today at Roseville Public School particularly the skills of the Life Education Educator in engaging with the children in relevant learning and the quality of the resources they were working with.
While government can do important work to coordinate efforts to enhance online safety for children, there are many other participants who have a vital role to play. Life Education is a national leader in educating children about healthy lifestyles and behaviours – and it is pleasing that such a respected organisation is offering high quality online safety education to Australian children.