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  • 16 January 2013 11:41

Life Education and McAfee Launch New Cyber Education Program To Empower Students To Become Safe and Respectful Digital Citizens

Prime Minister Julia Gillard unveils the new cyber education module expanding the Life Education Program that currently reaches over 620,000 primary school children across Australia

SYDNEY, Wednesday 16th January 2013 - Prime Minister Julia Gillard today officially unveiled a new cyber education module developed by Life Education and McAfee, which will give middle primary school students across Australia the tools to manage the influence of the digital age and support teachers with online resources to educate on cyber safety.

In a timely announcement – as school goes back and the rollout of the National Broadband Network ramps up across Australia – the new cyber safety module, called bCyberwise, will help middle primary school students to become safe and respectful digital citizens as they progress through their years of online use.

An extension of the current Life Education program, bCyberwise has been designed in partnership with McAfee using their expertise in security to create relevant content on the real risks students face today in the online world. The module will support teachers and schools to specifically address the knowledge, skills and attitudes children need to ensure their online experiences are safe.

Speaking about the new module, David Ballhausen, CEO of Life Education said, “Life Education is very excited about its partnership with McAfee. It’s enabling us to create new and age appropriate program content that supports schools and teachers in the development of core life skills such as building positive and respectful relationships online, communicating effectively and making decisions in social situations. These are all fundamental to the promotion of cyber safety.”

Discussing the cyber safety need, President, McAfee Asia Pacific, Andrew Littleproud said, “To address risky behaviours in young teens, we need to be educating primary school children in their formative years so they quickly adopt safe online practices. The research we conducted on teens and their online behaviour was very telling about the issues they confront everyday, so we know we have to start the conversations early.”

The McAfee research, called Secret Life of Teens, uncovered that teens are spending more time online than ever before and that 5.8 per cent of those teens have met up with strangers they encountered online1.

Consultant for the bCyberwise module, and leading psychologist and educator Dr Helen McGrath has endorsed the relevance of this exciting new development for educating young Australians to become good digital citizens.

“Digital media has become an important and mostly positive aspect of the education, leisure and social lives of today’s children but it also creates some potential risks to their safety and wellbeing. The most harmful of these risks appears to be cyberbullying.”

“The provision of this type of cyber safety curriculum in their early learning years will help children to cope safely and respectfully in this new digital environment,” continued Dr. McGrath.

The Life Education program teaches a set of values and skills that promote social and emotional development, positive relationships, pro-social values, self-respect and critical thinking to help combat and minimise the risks youth are facing online. The new bCyberwise module will be taught using engaging presentations, videos, discussion, problem solving and role play and will provide an opportunity for young students to learn and practice core life skills in three categories: cyber safety, cyber security and responsible online behaviour.

“The launch of the module is a great step forward in helping to raise awareness on cyber safety,” said Mr Littleproud. “Now is the time to address cyber safety and work hand-in-hand with the government and technology industry towards a common goal of keeping Australian children safe online,” continued Mr. Littleproud.

Life Education and McAfee have also launched a video to highlight the need for education on cyber safety and the lack of awareness primary school students have about the online world. Supporting the video are leading media figures Ita Buttrose, New South Wales AO, OBE, Channel 7’s Melissa Doyle and Haley and Nathan Bracken. The video can be viewed at www.mcafeecybered.com

In line with Life Education’s current program, the new module will begin to roll out regionally to schools across Australia from February 4th. Schools who wish to find out more and elect the modules can do so by contacting Life Education in their state or territory.

For more information, please visit www.lifeeducation.org.au 1McAfee Research, Secret Life Of Teens http://mcafeecybered.com/cybered/files/Secret%20Life%20of%20Teens%20Research%20Fact%20Sheet.pdf -Ends- MEDIA ENQUIRIES: Sabine Leroy, Spectrum Communications, 02 9469 5700, mcafee@spectrumcomms.com.au

Notes to Editor

About the Module The bCyberwise module is ideally suited for middle primary students in years 3 – 4 and focuses on common issues experienced by young people. The module will develop core life skills such as building positive and respectful relationships, effective communication and decision making in social situations. New cyber safety content has also been created for the current Life Education module for upper primary students, It’s Your Call.

bCyberwise and It’s Your Call are delivered in schools by Life Education educators in our unique Mobile Learning Centres and are supported by online resources for teachers and students to compliment these sessions.

About McAfee McAfee, a wholly owned subsidiary of Intel Corporation (NASDAQ:INTC), empowers businesses, the public sector, and home users to safely experience the benefits of the Internet. The company delivers proactive and proven security solutions and services for systems, networks, and mobile devices around the world. With its Security Connected strategy, innovative approach to hardware-enhanced security, and unique Global Threat Intelligence network, McAfee is relentlessly focused on keeping its customers safe. http://www.mcafee.com

McAfee provides software that makes it safer for children to be online and develops and shares content for cyber education to help keep individuals, users and families safe. McAfee is continuing its active and influential role in internet security through its partnership with Life Education Australian. Further information available at www.mcafee.com/au

About Life Education Australia Life Education, as the largest non-government provider of health education to children and young people in Australia, has been a valued partner of Australian schools for over 30 years. It has 100 plus mobile learning centres and qualified educators across the country and reaches 620,000 children nationally. A registered charity, independent of both government and religion, Life Education aims to empower children to make safe and healthy decisions. It continues to do so by expanding its national health and wellbeing program in Australia to include cyber safety content with the support of McAfee. Further information available at www.lifeeducation.org.au

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