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Ministers for the Department of Communications and the Arts

The Hon Paul Fletcher MP

Previous Parliamentary Secretary
to the Minister for Communications

Cybersmart Digital Citizens Update puts focus on cyber-bullying

28 July 2014

Key resources to help protect young Australians against the threat of cyber-bullying are being provided with the launch of the Australian Communications and Media Authority's Digital Citizens Update, one year on from the launch of the Cybersmart Citizens portal.

“Online safety for children and combatting the threat of cyber-bullying is a key policy priority for the Abbott Government,” said Paul Fletcher MP, Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for Communications. “We took a policy of Enhancing Online Safety for Children to the 2013 election and we are working to implement the measures in that policy.”

“The aim of the Cybersmart Citizens portal is to help Australians to participate confidently online—and that includes standing up to cyberbullies—by promoting consistent cybersafety messaging among government, industry and community sector providers of cybersafety resources,” he said.

The Abbott Government has announced funding of $10 million as part of the Enhancing Online Safety for Children policy. Of that, $7.5 million will go towards assisting schools in accessing accredited online safety programmes; $2.4 million will go towards establishing and operating the Office of the Children's e‐Safety Commissioner to take a leadership role in online safety; and $0.1 million will support Australian‐based research and information campaigns on online safety.

“ACMA research has found that 72 per cent of teens go online more than once a day — the majority on smartphones,” Mr Fletcher said. “As young people spend more time online, the updated Cybersmart Citizens portal will provide tools to help address cyber-bullying issues and to help users navigate the online world safely and confidently.”

Industry and not-for-profit organisations partnered with the ACMA to update the Cybersmart Citizens portal with links to a wide range of resources. The refreshed portal features new material under the themes of ‘Engage’, ‘Know’ and ‘Choose’, including new tools and specific advice on how to combat cyberbullying.

Along with updates to the ‘Chatterbox’ series for parents and the ‘Be Deadly Online’ program developed for indigenous communities, the portal also contains links to new material from industry partners to help combat cyberbullying, including:

  • the “Keeping Australians Safe Online” Guide developed by the AIMIA Digital Policy Group and its industry members. The Guide contains tips and frequently asked questions to help users stay safe online
  • a “Rules & Tools” e-postcard from Twitter Australia. The e-postcard highlights some of the user controls Twitter offers to block, report, unfollow or mute unwanted Tweets
  • the “Help a Friend in Need Guide”, from Facebook Australia. This Guide is designed to assist young people in identifying when their friend may need help based on what they are posting online.

Telstra, the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, Google, Yahoo7 and the Commonwealth Bank have also provided material and continuing support for the portal.

BACKGROUNDER

Developed in close consultation with the community and industry, the Cybersmart Digital Citizens Guide identifies three core principles which reflect the values, skills and knowledge required for confident and positive online participation. The Guide suggests users:

  • Engage positively: exercise your rights and responsibilities as a digital citizen
  • Know your online world: learn new skills and digital technologies
  • Choose consciously: take charge of how you interact online.

The Cybersmart Digital Citizens Guide is available at: http://www.cybersmart.gov.au/cybersmart-citizens/guide.aspx

Media Contact — Luke Coleman, Office of Paul Fletcher MP, 0414 728 720, luke.coleman@communications.gov.au

Gretchen Martins, ACMA Senior Communications Advisor, (03) 9963 6801 and 0404 836 636 or Gretchen.Martins@acma.gov.au

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