VIDEO: National action needed on cyber safety

Photo: ERIN JONASSON
Nanjing Night Net

Source: Bunbury Mail

A West Australianpolitician has called forcyber safety to form part of the national curriculum.

Member for Forrest Nola Marino told Fairfax Regional Media cyber safety was a national issue and that students needed bettereducation on the subject.

“They (students) need to be able to enjoy what they do but they also need to be safe,” she said. “I think education is the key to that which is why I believe that cyber safety should be and must be made a part of the national curriculum.

“It is not okay when a child suffers abuse because they did not know how to protect themselves from an online sexual predator, who was pretending to be another 13-year-old girl.

“It is not okay that a teenager takes their own life because they did not know how to protect themselves from cyber bullying.”

Mrs Marino is on parliament’s Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety and has delivered a number of cyber safety presentations to schools and community groups in her electorate in the past three years.

“This year I have been asked to provide sessions from preschool through to year 12…this is how I know that there is a need and what the answer is.

“The number of online friends on social websites for eight-to-10-year-olds I meet I find to be extraordinary andfor them all, issues such as sexting and the risks associated with geo-tagging are ones they face on a daily basis.”

The principal at one of the schools where the Liberal MPhas conductedcyber safety presentations said he supported thecurriculumproposal.

“I think it’s an initiative that’s been a long time coming,” Georgiana Molloy Anglican School (GMAS) principal Ted Kosicki said.

“I think it’s a great that Nola (is)raising the issue and I feel something should be introduced into the national curriculum to support online learning by students.”

Mr Kosicki said students at GMAS were online daily and even Year 1 students used iPads in class as a learning tool.

He said the school had a social media policy which covers internet usage and being online at school, but believed education on cyber safety was still important.

“With the advent of mobile devices, students can be online 24/7 and it’s very difficult for us to control that environment outside of school hours,” he said.

Mrs Marino said there was precedent for a national education approach.

“In the United Kingdom online safety is a compulsory part of the national curriculum for children aged five and upwards,” she said.

“We need an Australian population that is cyber-savvy, much more aware and alert than we are now.

“I understand very well the challenges that this presents in relation to the National Curriculum but I believe this is a conversation we all need to have.”