The Morrison Government is today announcing further measures to support families and keep children safe online. We are investing $10 million in a new Online Safety Grants Program to enable non-government organisations (NGOs) to deliver practical online safety education and training projects. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said one of our Government’s top priorities was keeping our kids safe online. “Every mum and dad, including me and Jen, worries about our kids when they go online. It’s terrifying for parents,” the Prime Minister said.
“Jenny and I sit down with our girls and talk to them about being safe and responsible. “We all have a role to play to ensure our children have the tools and information they need to stay safe whenever they are online.
“We’ve seen too many tragic cases of online abuse and bullying. This new suite of measures will help keep our children stay safe online and support parents, community leaders and teachers to do our bit. “Organisations, like the Alannah and Madeline Foundation and Dolly’s Dream are doing some great work in this space and we need to follow their lead.”
Following a request from eminent child psychologist Dr Michael Carr Gregg, the Government will commission a review of ‘digital licences’ and other tools designed to build and test children’s online safety skills. The Government recognises that there are a number of organisations already doing good work in this space.
We will look at existing tools, in particular the ‘eSmart Digital Licence’ developed by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation. Communications Minister Mitch Fifield said our highest obligation as a society is to protect our kids and that’s why safety of children online is a major focus of this Government.
“We’ve already done some good work in the online environment. We’ve established the world’s first eSafety Commissioner. We’ve legislated a kids cyber-bullying material take-down regime. But the community expect us to do more,” Minister Fifield said.
The independent review will also explore the elements that make up an effective competency-based program for educating children about online safety. The review will examine whether the current online safety training and testing tools available for children are effective, and if any improvements are needed.
“For our children and young people, the online world is now as much a part of their lives as the offline world. These measures will ensure they have the knowledge and practical skills they need to be safe and responsible online,” Minister Fifield said.
The Online Safety Grants Program will enable non-government organisations to deliver practical, on-the-ground improvements to online safety for Australian children.
The program will be administered by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner which was established by the Coalition in 2015 as a world-first statutory authority for the community’s online safety.
Today’s announcement builds on the $17 million Keeping our Children Safe Online package announced last December which included new resources for parents and carers, an online safety research program and the development of an Online Safety Charter for digital platforms.