$6m to help keep kids safer online

The Government has announced it will deliver $6 million over the next three years for online learning tools to help schools keep children safe online in the 2022-23 Federal Budget.

Minister for Communications, Michelle Rowland, said the resources would help bring digital literacy programs to all schools, not just the ones that could afford them, and would help Australian students “develop the skills they need to be critical, responsible and active citizens online.”

The eLearning tools, which will be delivered by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation (AMF), will include:

  • The eSmart Digital Licence+, for students aged 10 to 14 to learn how to meet the demands and challenges of the digital world;
  • The eSmart Media Literacy Lab for secondary school students aged 12 to 16 to help support the development of critical thinking skills and online civic engagement; and
  • A new eSmart Junior Digital Licence+ for primary students aged 5 to 9 years which will support the increasing number of young children who are active online, particularly since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) Digital Platforms Inquiry report recommended improving digital media literacy education in Australian schools, to help children to critically assess the news and content they see online.

“By 2025, every primary and secondary school in Australia will have the opportunity to engage with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s digital literacy products, which is a major boost in our commitment to keep children safe from harm,” Rowland stressed.

“Australian children should be provided with the tools to face online issues, such as harmful content and misinformation – and we have delivered on this election commitment through the 2022-23 Federal Budget.”

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation is a national Australian charity, which was launched on 30 April 1997, with a mission to keep children safe from violence. The foundation cares for children who have experienced or witnessed violence and runs programs which aim to prevent violence in the lives of children.

It also plays an advocacy role by being a voice against childhood violence.