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Think your kids are safe online? Think again

24 October, 2006 | Archived Post



24 October 2006 - NetAlert, together with Microsoft, ninemsn and the Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT), today launched the Think U Know initiative, designed to raise awareness amongst Australian children, parents and teachers of the increasing safety issues on the Internet.

This pioneering partnership has come together to support NetAlert’s strategy to have internet safety taught in all Australian schools.

Launched at Mont Albert Primary School in Melbourne, Think U Know will deliver interactive Internet safety training to Australian primary and secondary schools through a network of volunteers and school champions. This will provide teachers and parents with the vital and practical knowledge required for effective Internet safety. NetAlert’s CyberSafe Schools program range of interactive materials will form the core of the information available to schools.

Recent results from a NetAlert and ninemsn survey show that almost 50% of children surveyed had been approached by a stranger to meet in real life. Of those children who agree to meet with a stranger, only 10% ask permission from their parents first. Additionally, a recent NetAlert Expo survey showed that over a third of parents have concerns about key issues such as cyberbullying, their children being approached by strangers in chat rooms, and online security.

NetAlert Chair, Karyn Hart said: “Although many young Australians are technologically savvy, many are unaware about what dangers are on the Internet, leaving themselves vulnerable to abuse or exploitation.

“Through Think U Know, we are looking to have Internet safety curriculum and policies in place in every school across Australia. We want to empower teachers, parents and students with the essential information they need to have a safe online experience every time,” Ms Hart said.

National Coordinator of the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Online Child Sex Exploitation Team, Federal Agent Greg Harrigan said: “Think U Know is a tangible example of what can be achieved through co-operation – one of the vital messages advocated by the Virtual Global Taskforce.

“This issue concerns all levels of the community and Think U Know will empower kids, and those who care for them, to not only enjoy the online environment safely, but also assist them on where to go if things get out of hand,” Federal Agent Harrigan said.

Chief Security Adviser, Microsoft Australia, Peter Watson said “As a parent, I understand that teaching children about dangers online is becoming increasingly important, as kids are using the Internet more and from a younger age.

“For Microsoft, this is an important partnership and our commitment goes beyond providing financial support. Our staff are volunteering their time and we are committing considerable resources to ensure the success of Think U Know.”

Think U Know builds upon NetAlert’s successful national expo, with the pilot program planned for April to July 2007 and the roll out to schools nationally planned for later in the year.

# Ends #

For more information:
Rod Nockles, NetAlert Corporate Spokesperson Ph: 03 9629 3000
Clair Deevy, Public Relations Manager, Microsoft Australia Ph: 02 9870 2508
National Australian Federal Police Media Ph: 02 6275 7100

About NetAlert
NetAlert Limited (NetAlert) is Australia’s Internet Safety Advisory Body, a one-stop-shop for Internet safety advice, information and resources in Australia available free from 1800 880 176 or www.netalert.net.au.

NetAlert’s primary objective is to promote a safer Internet experience, particularly for young people and their families.

NetAlert was established by the Australian Government in December 1999.  NetAlert works closely with a variety of bodies, at both a national and international level, in order to promote the safety of children on the Internet.

NetAlert is owned by the Australian Government as part of its approach to regulating online content. NetAlert’s website has been designed to complement other measures put in place by the Government, such as the Australian Communications and Media Authorities complaints mechanism at http://www.aba.gov.au/what/online/www.asp

About the Virtual Global Taskforce
The Virtual Global Taskforce (VGT) is made up of law enforcement agencies from around the world working together to fight child abuse online. The aim of the VGT is to build an effective, international partnership of law enforcement agencies that helps to protect children from online child abuse. The VGT delivers low-cost, high impact initiatives that prevent and deter people from exploiting children online. The objectives of the VGT are:

  • to make the Internet a safer place;
  • to identify, locate and help children at risk; and
  • to hold perpetrators appropriately to account.

The VGT is made up of the Australian High Tech Crime Centre, the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre in the UK, the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the US Department of Homeland Security and Interpol.

About Microsoft
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software – any time, any place and on any device.

About ninemsn
Australia's number-one interactive media company has the largest online audience in Australia, with over 7.8 million people visiting each month, representing over 75 percent reach to all Australian Internet users. Formed in 1997, ninemsn is a 50:50 joint venture between the Microsoft Corporation and PBL.

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