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Leading children's advocates call for a national framework on digital safety

Posted on 13 September 2018
National children's charities, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, Bravehearts, UNICEF Australia, the Carly Ryan Foundation and the Daniel Morcombe Foundation are calling on Australian governments and industry and community organisations to develop and adopt a national framework on digital safety.

With bullying and cyber bullying high on the COAG Education Council's radar, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation's CEO, Lesley Podesta, said the time for a coordinated plan to ensure all Australian children and families receive education on online safety is now.
"In some ways, Australia is a global leader in promoting digital safety. While there has been considerable work done around online safety education, it is fragmented rather than comprehensive. It often focusses on only one or a small number of broader online safety issues, such as privacy, cyber bullying or online etiquette," Ms Podesta said.
Significant population groups are underserved by our current arrangements, particularly children and young people in remote and regional communities, she said.
Daniel Morcombe Foundation's CEO, Holly Brennan, said that all the organisations work around Australia to build online respect and safety.

"We work with families and young people who report on the very significant variations of existing online safety resources in different states and territories, and across different schools. With almost 90 per cent of teenagers using social media every day, this situation just isn't good enough in 2018," she said.
UNICEF Australia's CEO, Tony Stuart, said this commitment to our children's safety should be bipartisan.

"We believe that a national and consistent approach should be developed for online safety education for children and young people with input and buy in from industry, community organisations and government."

The Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse highlighted the need to invest in a national approach to online safety education, Hetty Johnston, Founder and Executive Chair of Bravehearts, said.

"This is not about ignoring the great efforts of many tech companies and the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.  It is about developing a coordinated plan. Our children have the right to grow up in a safe environment, to be confident and respectful online and to be equipped to keep themselves safe. Schools, community organisations, workplaces, libraries and the online industry all play vital roles but at the moment we don't have an agreed national plan too many of our children and young people are missing out."
A national coordinated action plan will ensure a unified message as well as addressing current gaps in relation to online safety education throughout Australia, said Sonya Ryan, CEO of the Carly Ryan Foundation.

"We are stronger together, this collaboration will benefit entire communities and I look forward to future discussions."

For more information, contact Deb Morris at the Alannah & Madeline Foundation on
0450 784 847 or at


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