New resources announced to help children under five stay safe online
New resources for early childhood education and care (ECEC) educators have been announced, as part of a $17 million online safety program, dubbed Keeping our Children Safe Online to be rolled out by the Federal Government early in 2019.
The resources will include an online safety research program, an online safety charter for digital platforms, and a range of resources for educators and parents, recognising that “it is never too early to start teaching good online safety habits”.
“We must all work together to ensure the safety of our youngest Australians online, including parents, social media companies and the community,” Prime Minister Scott Morrison said.
The program will raise awareness of the resources available to parents to protect their children online, particularly the work of the eSafety Commissioner, and develop new resources for parents, childcare centres and community groups to support a safe online environment and positive cybersafe behaviour in young children.
An Online Safety Charter will be developed in consultation with parents, stakeholders and social media and digital platform companies which will outline the Government’s expectations for industry in relation to protecting children online.
The Charter will have an explicit focus on children, recognising they need special protection. A draft will be developed over the summer and the final Charter will be agreed in 2019.
The Charter will sit alongside a new research program, which will be rolled out to underpin the initiatives being used to keep children and other vulnerable Australian’s safe when online.
“This generation of children are the first to grow up immersed in the online world and as digital technology rapidly evolves it is important that we have the best information about the impact on our children and ways to ensure that their experience is a positive and safe one,” Federal Minister for Communications Mitch Fifield said.
Federal Minister for Education Dan Tehan said that while setting limits and “taking control” of children’s online behaviour can “feel like it’s too hard”, parents and educators “should be reassured that it’s never too early or too late to start teaching responsible cybersafe behaviour.”
Placing an emphasis on adult involvement, Mr Tehan said the awareness campaign and resource funding was designed to help parents and educators make sensible and safe choices about their children’s technology use from their very first exposure.
While awaiting the release of the resources, families and educators are able to access advice on how to keep children safe online through the eSafety commissioner.