News: New initiative to empower youths online
Release Date: Monday, April 11 2011, 11:52 AM
Minister for Home Affairs Brendan O'Connor has announced the next step in the successful ThinkUKnow program, launching a new youth section of the ThinkUKnow website and a Facebook and Twitter account to help empower and protect young Australians in the online environment.
Mr O'Connor officially launched the youth section of the ThinkUKnow website at Croydon Secondary College in Melbourne as part of National Youth Week events, of which the AFP is an official sponsor.
Mr O'Connor said the new ThinkUKnow Facebook, Twitter and youth pages directly engage young Australians, providing them with important support while they are online.
"This way, young people can access advice and support in the same space where they might experience issues," he said.
"The Australian Government is serious about preventing the exploitation of children online, which is why we hope to educate people on the risks young people face and how to mitigate these risks."
AFP Acting Manager High Tech Investigations and Business Delivery Todd Hunter launched the website with Mr O'Connor and said the initiative is an example of how organisations can get together to help protect young Australians online.
"The new youth section of the website is another example of how law enforcement and industry bodies like Microsoft and ninemsn can work together to educate and most importantly empower our young people on how to stay safe online," he said.
AFP High Tech Crime Operations Crime Prevention Project Officer Melissa Sevil gave a demonstration of the website pages to the students during the launch, before giving them an opportunity to look at the website themselves and surf the pages with their parents, carers and teachers.
Croydon Secondary College School Captain Danielle Cornwell said the new section of the website provides good advice on ways to stay safe online.
"It has information on the good aspects about being online and also on what can go wrong," she said.
"It is good in the way it can help people who are bullied online, but also let them know what they can do to respond when it happens."
Last year, the AFP delivered nearly 200 ThinkUKnow presentations to 6747 parents, carers and teachers across Australia. As of January this year there were 2400 ThinkUKnow website members.
It has been a year since Mr O'Connor launched the ThinkUKnow program, an internet safety initiative delivering interactive training to parents, carers and teachers through primary and secondary schools across Australia using a network of accredited trainers.
It was created by the United Kingdom Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre and developed for young Australians by the Australian Federal Police and Microsoft Australia. Ninemsn is also a major sponsor of the program.
To download fact sheets or book in a ThinkUKnow presentation, visit www.thinkuknow.org.au.