Thousands more Victorian students will be taught how to stay safe online with the roll-out of the successful cyber-safety eSmart program to every school in the state.
Premier Daniel Andrews and Education Minister James Merlino recently announced an additional $2.5million to enable all Victorian schools, both government and non-government, to use the Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s eSmart program for free, meaning almost one million students will benefit from it every year.
Mr Andrews said costs should never act as barriers when protecting our kids.
‘‘We want every Victorian child and young person to stay safe online. That’s why we’re stepping in to provide this additional funding, because nothing is more important than the safety and happiness of our kids,’’ he said.
The program provides support for government, Catholic and independent schools to create cyber-safe environments for their students through policies and practices encouraging students to use technology responsibly.
This includes helping schools create their own plans, policies and procedures, access the latest resources and tools and record, track and report on their progress in achieving eSmart status.
With young people now accessing the internet and social media at unprecedented levels, programs like eSmart to help them make smart choices online are more important than ever.
This is in addition to a suite of Victorian anti-bullying resources being brought together under the state government’s new $7million Victorian Anti-Bullying and Mental Health Initiative, including Bully Stoppers, Safe Schools, Respectful Relationships and new initiatives to tackle racist bullying.
About one in five young people experience bullying, affecting their academic performance and self-esteem, leading to anxiety, depression and self-harm.