Minister for Youth Affairs Ryan Smith today launched webWise, a new cyber safety initiative to assist young people to stay safe online.
Mr Smith said the $3.6 million initiative was developed in response to growing community concern around the challenges young people face online.
“Cyber bullying, social media risks and ‘sexting’ are key issues this initiative will tackle through workshops and training delivered by young peer educators who have expertise in cybersafety,” Mr Smith said.
Other strategies include the development of tailored resources such as plain English ‘tip sheets’ designed for people with a cognitive disability as well as easily accessible information for parents and carers, tailored video podcasts and interactive displays.
“Accessing technology is an important part of young people’s lives. It provides opportunities for education, socialisation and participation in the community. That’s why we want all young people, particularly the most vulnerable, to do this safely.
“The webWise initiative will target young Victorians who may have missed out on the cyber safety education provided in Victorian schools or who may need additional support to navigate online environments safely,” Mr Smith said.
“Online safety is more than cyber bullying – it spans a range of issues from preventing identity theft to learning how to spot an online scam.
“We want young people to be equipped with practical skills that may be as simple as updating your privacy settings on social networking sites,” Mr Smith said.
The four-year initiative is designed to educate young people up to the age of 25 to be smart, safe and responsible when using the internet and other technologies.
Six community organisations will each receive $200,000 in the first phase of the four-year initiative. The organisations include:
- Youth Disability Advocacy Service
- Rainbow Network
- Centre for Multicultural Youth
- Centre for Adult Education in partnership with Education Centre Gippsland
- Women’s Health Grampians
- Koorie Heritage Trust.
Each of these six organisations will consult and work closely with young people, parents and carers to work out the best strategies for their groups’ needs. Ongoing feedback from young people as well as key learnings will form part of the strategy to ensure it’s relevancy throughout the initiative.
“As a community-based, youth-led initiative, webWise will support young Victorians most in need to have a positive experience of technology,” Mr Smith said.