National eSmart Week 2020: keeping children safe online has never been more important.

By creating awareness about cyber safety, bullying and well-being, we can reduce online harm – Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, National eSmart Week Ambassador.

 

As rates of online cyber bullying, child exploitation and image-based abuse skyrocket in COVID-19 and subsequent lockdowns and isolation, it’s critical to do everything we can to ensure children – the most vulnerable –  are safe online.

Held from 6-12 September – along with National Child Protection Week – in National eSmart Week schools and libraries promote cyber safety and positive online connections.

An initiative of national children’s charity, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation (which works to keep children safe from violence and bullying), eSmart programs use a cultural change approach to cyber safety, increase digital literacy, and expose cyber bullying. eSmart is now in 2450 schools across Australia and more than 80 per cent of public libraries.

National eSmart Week Ambassador, National Centre Against Bullying member and child and adolescent psychologist, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg, says cyber safety knowledge which is embedded in school curricular is vital in today’s world of remote learning.

Teaching students about safe and responsible use of technology should be a central part of their education,” Dr Carr-Gregg said. “This will ensure they have the skills, knowledge, strategies and basic competencies to help curb online bullying and encourage respectful relationships.

National eSmart Week is the perfect opportunity for communities to share their knowledge and celebrate their work around being smart, safe and responsible when using technology. By creating awareness about cyber safety, bullying and wellbeing, we can reduce online harm.”

Dr Carr-Gregg will share his tips on managing family wellbeing and resilience in his live webinar, Managing the Coronacoaster, on Wednesday 9 September at 7pm.

Registered schools and libraries can also access free webinars and live online sessions for students, teachers, and parents during the week.

Alannah & Madeline Foundation CEO Lesley Podesta said more than 1000 schools and libraries took part in National eSmart Week last year, helping to creating awareness, solutions and ideas for community education on cyber safety, bullying and wellbeing, both online and offline.

Working together to raise a generation of smart, safe and responsible children who are capable and compassionate online is so important,” Ms Podesta said.

Every child must learn to be digitally literate. No one must be left behind.”

Schools and libraries can share their stories of how they have Connected Safely during recent times using the #eSmart Week.

National eSmart Week celebrates online safety through the Foundation’s eSmart Schools eSmart Libraries, eSmart Digital Licence and eSmart Connect workshops.

To register for National eSmart Week and all events, visit www.esmart.org.au