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Grants and Partnerships Aim to Keep Youth Safe Online

18 February 2014 at 9:29 am
Staff Reporter
Keeping young people safe online was the focus of two separate announcements around grant funding and cross-sector partnerships last week.

Staff Reporter | 18 February 2014 at 9:29 am


Grants and Partnerships Aim to Keep Youth Safe Online
18 February 2014 at 9:29 am

Keeping young people safe online was the focus of two separate announcements around grant funding and cross-sector partnerships last week.

Both announcements were made to coincide with Safer Internet Day, which has been celebrated around the globe each February for the past 11 years to highlight the importance of safe and responsible use of online and mobile technology, especially among young people.

The Victorian Government announced $400,000 in grant funding to help Not for Profit organisations educate and encourage young people to be responsible digital citizens.

In a joint announcement, Minister for Youth Affairs Ryan Smith and Minister for Education Martin Dixon said community organisations can apply for grants of up to $30,000 for projects that encourage young Victorians to be safe and responsible online.

Although the worldwide web is a wonderful resource, we need to ensure that young people understand the risks, said Smith.

“These grants are about working with young people to ensure that they are careful about what they say and do online,” he said. “The successful recipients of these grants will build on the Coalition Government’s It’s There for Life campaign, which reminds young people to think twice before uploading photos or posting online.”

Dixon said the grants also complemented the Government’s cyber safety campaigns in schools.

“Victorian schools are leaders in cyber safety education, with more than 1700 schools signed up to become eSmart schools through the $10.5 million eSmart initiative that helps schools manage cybersafety issues including cyberbullying,” he said.

In a second announcement, the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Queensland Police Service (QPS), Western Australia Police (WAS) and Neighbourhood Watch Australasia (NWA) have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to join the ThinkUKnow cyber safety program this year.

ThinkUKnow Australia was developed by the AFP, Microsoft Australia and Datacom, and is supported by the Northern Territory Police and ninemsn. The program delivers interactive training to parents, carers and teachers through schools and organisations across Australia.

Since the pilot program began in 2009, more than 27,000 parents, carers, teachers, and community members have participated in the initiative.

AFP Acting Deputy Commissioner Close Operational Support, Tim Morris, welcomed the new partners to ThinkUKnow and encouraged parents and young people to visit the ThinkUKnow website to gain valuable information and tips on how to stay in control and learn invaluable online safety skills.

"The AFP, together with our partner agencies, remain committed to ensure the safety of all Australian children online and making the internet a safer environment for our kids,” Morris said.

Detective Superintendent Brian Hay of the Queensland Police Service, said the Queensland Police Service has long been committed to the safety of community members online, including vulnerable groups of children and the elderly.

"As these groups continue to become engaged online at such a rapid pace, it is crucial we complement our existing suite of programs and capabilities in this area with programs that cover issues such as cyberbullying," he said.

Ingrid Stonhill, Chief Executive Officer Neighbourhood Watch Australasia (NHWA) said "By working as part of the ThinkUKnow program, NHWA can strengthen its aim of enabling safer and vibrant communities through Australasia's on-line community”.

To apply for It’s There For Life grants visit Youth Central. Applications close April 4, with successful projects to be announced in June.

Information about The Alannah and Madeleine Foundation’s eSmart Schools program is available here.

Further information and resources on the ThinkUKnow initiative can be found here.

Staff Reporter  |  Journalist  |  @ProBonoNews

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