McCormack welcomes cyber safety program for kids

Picture - Andrew Meares
Picture - Andrew Meares

THE Nationals’ Member for Riverina Michael McCormack says the Federal Government’s expanded cyber safety training program will ensure the most vulnerable members of the Riverina and Central West will be well equipped to safely navigate the internet.

It comes as police revealed on Tuesday a shocking trend of incidents, including children as young as four producing sexually explicit material.

Kindergarten-aged children will receive cyber safety training under the expanded ThinkUKnow program which was launched on Safer Internet Day.

Cyber safety training for industry and law enforcement presenters will be delivered nationally in the coming weeks by the Australian Federal Police as part of the program.

A Kindergarten to Year Two presentation has been introduced this year in response to younger children accessing technology, and law enforcement seeing incidents involving younger victims.

Mr McCormack said it was important to protect those in the community who have access to the internet but may not understand its dangers.

“The Liberals and Nationals’ Government is ensuring kids can access the internet safely by teaching them how to navigate social media and websites appropriately and safely,” Mr McCormack said.

“The ThinkUKnow program is free and it provides information to parents, carers, teachers and students on the technologies children use and the challenges associated with them and how to best overcome these challenges.”

Minister for Law Enforcement and Cyber Security Angus Taylor said cyber crime was all-pervasive.

“We need to get on top of this and fast,” Mr Taylor said.

“Our law enforcement agencies are seeing shocking incidents of children as young as four producing sexually explicit material, uploading it to social media, and subsequently engaging with online child sex offenders.

“As a parent these reports are deeply concerning. We need to closely supervise our young children online, and we also need to ensure they are taught how to identify suspicious online behaviour and how to block and report offensive apps and sites.”

ThinkUKnow is a unique partnership between law enforcement and industry.

The program, in its ninth year, is delivered by trained industry volunteers and law enforcement members. State and territory police deliver the program in schools from Kindergarten to Year 12.

This year’s presentations focus on education around key trends such as self-produced child exploitation material, grooming of children through online apps and games, and for young children the importance of adult supervision.

“Australians are online more than ever before. Cyber safety programs such as ThinkUKnow are vital to protect children in the ever-changing online environment,” Mr Taylor said.

The program is a partnership between the Australian Federal Police (AFP), Commonwealth Bank, Datacom and Microsoft Australia and is delivered in collaboration with state and territory law enforcement as well as Neighbourhood Watch Australasia.

The 2018 presentation package will be available in schools and organisations nationally from the end of March.

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