PM launches cyber safety program in Dundas Valley

Prime Minister Julia Gillard launched a cyber education program at Yates Avenue Public School at Dundas Valley this morning.

The bCyberwise program, developed by Life Education and McAfee, will address the skills, knowledge and attitudes children need to ensure safe online experiences.

It will focus on core life skills such as building positive and respectful relationships online, communicating effectively and making decisions in social situations.

Consultant for the bCyberwise module, and leading psychologist and educator Doctor Helen McGrath endorsed the program's relevance. 

''Digital media has become an important and mostly positive aspect of the education, leisure and social lives of today’s children but it also creates some potential risks to their safety and wellbeing,'' Dr McGrath said.

''The most harmful of these risks appears to be cyberbullying.

“The provision of this type of cyber safety curriculum in their early learning years will help children to cope safely and respectfully in this new digital environment.''

The program will be delivered to more than 3200 schools across Australia.

At the launch Ms Gillard also announced the federal government’s new guidelines to help combat cyber-bullying were agreed to by social media sites including Facebook, YouTube and Yahoo.

The guidelines commit companies to:

■Set out clear information about its acceptable use guidelines;

■Undertake education and awareness raising activities about what behaviour is acceptable and unacceptable online;

■Have a single point of contact for government; and 

■Have a robust process for reviewing and acting on complaints.

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