‘Parents need to parent online and offline’

Those were the words of caution from Children’s e-Safety Commissioner, Alastair MacGibbon, at the launch of a the third digital e-licence in the state to children at St Christopher’s Catholic Primary School Panania.

“This is about kids being safe online… and prevention is way better than cure,” said Mr MacGibbon.

“One of the greatest impediments to the web and mobile technology is fear – quite justified – of misuse, so anything we can do to prevent that is just great,” he said.

Google has invested $1.2 million in the e-licence project released in February 2015 in conjunction with the Federal Government’s newly formed commission.

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Children’s e-Safety Commissioner, Alastair MacGibbon, with students at the launch

The program, supported by the Alannah and Madeleine Foundation, will be rolled out free to every one of Australia’s 300,000 Year 6 students.

There are eight modules and children are encouraged to go home and speak with their parents about the content they are covering in the program.

Students need an 80% pass mark to move to the next module.

The modules cover two main areas – cyber safety and banking and finance. The cyber-safety section also deals with cyber-bullying.

Samantha Yorke, Public Policy Officer with Google, said the modules are designed to be practical and fun.

The Head of Education and Community at the Alannah and Madeleine Foundation, Linda Barry said another benefit of the program was that there’s teacher material in the modules that can be built into the curriculum.

“We don’t let people go swimming if they haven’t had some form of swimming lessons, we also help children understand road safety when they need to cross a road, and for those same reasons we need to ensure everyone is safe online,” said Ms Barry.

Mr MacGibbon, who started his role in July this year, said St Christopher’s was the first school he had visited.

“The most important thing this office does is to prevent problems and to help educate kids when they’re online,”

“I’d ask you to teach your parents, the future is with you,” said Mr MacGibbon.

He said parents needed to feel empowered to have conversations with their children so that they know where there are children are physically but also on the internet.

St Christopher’s was the third school to have the e-licence program released in Sydney. The program was launched at The Kings School Parramatta, then at Kambala Rose Bay.

The launch was entertained by three teams of Year 6 students who competed on stage for a digital e-licence.

They had to work out answers to challenging multiple-choice questions such as: “Choose all the warning signs that a product may be part of an online scam?

Check out the e-Smart Digital Licence Program for yourself at:

https://www.digitallicence.com.au/home

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