Partnership teaching children to be cyber smart

MORE than 1,700 Tasmanian students are now better equipped to remain safe online thanks to a partnership between Aurora Energy and the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.

The partnership, which was launched in May last year, saw 1,736 eSmart Digital Licences distributed to primary school students across Tasmania.

The eSmart Digital Licence is an online cyber safety tool that teaches children critical digital skills to be smart, safe and responsible online.

Alannah and Madeline Foundation senior digital licence advisor Amy Williams said the Digital License tool had an interactive nature that helped engage students and provided teachers with a valuable resource that helped them deliver the right message about online safety.

“The core mission of the foundation is to keep children and young people safe from violence and bullying, and that now includes online bullying,” she said.

To coincide with the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence, Princes Street Primary School students recently took up the opportunity to learn important online safety skills.

Princes Street Primary School student Lotte Routley said the day taught and inspired students to stand up against bullying.

“The day makes people who are being bullied fell like they’re important and they matter,” she said.

“It makes you think that there are a lot of good things about being online like talking to your friends and watching YouTube, but then there are people that use it for bad like being mean and making others feel bad.”

Princes Street Primary principal John Dryden said the decisions students made needed to be purposeful.

“This tool should give them that opportunity to give them those calls,” he said.

Ms Williams said with online bullying being 24/7, it was important to empower students to make the right decisions.

“Students can explore the consequences with their teachers and peers, and what we hope is that through this discussion they can think about these consequences and know exactly what to do when they’re out in the real world,” she said.

“Open lines of communication are the biggest thing we can do for our students and children as both educators and parents – make sure they have that trusted adult that they know.

“One of the things the Digital Licence teaches is there may be children out there who don’t feel like they have that trusted person, so we tell them where to go for help.”

Aurora Energy chief executive officer Rebecca Kardos said the partnership was helping find ways to combat online bullying.

“We recognise technology and being online is part of our future and we need to embrace that,” she said.

“But there’s risks with that and we’ve got a responsibility of ensuring the next generation of our customers have the digital literacy to be able to go online safely.”

Caption: Princes Street Primary School students Lotte Routley and Jack Salter with Aurora Energy chief executive officer Rebecca Kardos and Alannah and Madeline Foundation senior digital licence advisor Amy Williams.

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