Social networks need to simplify explanations to help keep kids safe

Youth Advisory Group gets smart about online safety

Social media sites should provide simpler explanation and assistance to help school kids navigate cyber-safety issues.

That is one of the initial points of advice given to the Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy, Senator Stephen Conroy, by representatives of the Youth Advisory Group.

Senator Conroy met with the group to discuss a range of Internet-related safety issues. The group also recommended an anonymous chat facility for kids to discuss their problems with a professional and the promotion of cyber-safety tools and the CyberSmart Web site. Cybersmart.gov.au, which was launched in July, consists of a number of resources for teachers, parents and students, including guides to assist schools in addressing cyber safety issues, information about how children of different ages engage with online technologies, advice for parents and safe social networking for teens.

The Youth Advisory Group is one component of the Federal Government’s $125.8 million cyber-safety plan.

In August, the it announced a pilot project aimed at curbing cyber bullying in Australian schools. The $3 million project involves 150 schools and is being carried out by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

Cyber-bullying is an increasing problem for young people and their parents. Not only is the Internet making it easier for bullying to occur, argue experts, the ability to reach a mass audience online is making the impact worse.

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Tags online safetysecuritycyberbullyingsocial networksgovernment

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