Federal govt pledges $17m for online safety education package

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Federal govt pledges $17m for online safety education package

Plans for Online Safety Charter to protect kids on digital platforms.

The federal government has pushed more cash into keeping internet nasties away from the eyes and ears of the young, revealing a $17 million online safety package to support parents and protect children in online environments.

The head and shoulders of the package is an Online Safety Charter to be developed for digital platforms - that's everyday social media and the likes of Google and Facebook - along with a suite of resources for parents and carers, as well as an online safety research program.

The Keeping Our Children Safe Online package also includes an education campaign for all parents and new educational resources for parents and carers of children under the age of five, in a bid to instil healthy online habits as early as possible.

In particular, the program will highlight the resources available to protect their children in digital spaces, including the work done by the eSafety Commissioner.

Childcare centres and community groups will also be involved in helping to develop a safer online environment and positive cyber safety behaviour in young children.

Development of the Online Safety Charter will be done in consultation with parents, stakeholders and social media and digital platform companies, outlining the government’s expectations for the industry in protecting children.

“Businesses who interact with children in the real world have to meet high standards of safety and digital businesses should be treated no differently,” Communications minister Mitch Fifield said.

“This generation is the first to be immersed in the digital world. There is much we don't know, and as technology evolves we are funding more research to improve online safety,” he added.

Minister for Education Dan Tehan said the new tool will help parents who want to be in charge of what their children experience online.

“We know how difficult it can be and how it can feel like it is too hard to take control but parents should be reassured that it is never too early - or too late - to start teaching responsible cybersafe behaviour,” Tehan said.

“That's why we are developing a new awareness campaign and funding new resources to help parents make sensible and safe choices about their kids’ technology use from their very first exposure.”

The new package of online safety measures will be rolled out early next year. If only they cared about adults’ online safety this much.

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