Australian Federal Police, Microsoft and ninemsn will today take part in an official launch of the school-based cyber safety program - ThinkUKnow - in New South Wales.
The program is aimed at assisting families ensure they are better prepared to protect children from online sex offenders, cyber bullies and scammers.
Today's launch, being held at the Holy Innocents' Primary School in Croydon, outside of Sydney, highlights the significance of this program.
The school was involved in the successful pilot of the Think U Know program last year and as a result, has requested an additional training session which will occur in May 2010.
During the pilot period, more than 2,100 parents, carers and teachers were educated on how to keep young people safe online.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 was 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
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:
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.