Landmark framework sets foundation for effective online safety education in Australian schools
The eSafety Commissioner has today launched the first-ever national online safety education framework for Australian schools and teachers, helping educators equip young people with the necessary skills to navigate the online world safely.
eSafety has developed the Best Practice Framework for Online Safety Education, along with a suite of support materials in consultation with over 80 education authorities, organisations and expert individuals.
In addition to teachers expressing the need for a dedicated curriculum to help keep kids safer online, eSafety research released earlier this year, revealed three-quarters of Australian teens wanted online safety information delivered through trusted channels – principally through their school.
eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said the Framework has been designed to guide and assist educators to help young people deal with growing and ever-changing risks associated with being online and lead to meaningful behavioural change.
“Educators and parents alike need to understand that not all online safety education content and approaches are created equal. This Framework helps to ensure we are providing educators with guidance on online safety programs that work,” she said.
“Now, more than ever, we need to ensure that young Australians are consistently being armed with the resilience and critical reasoning skills they need to discern online fact from fiction, to effectively respond to abuse and unwanted contact and to ultimately, manage online conflict.”
The comprehensive Framework, designed to address the needs of every student, at every year level, provides guidance on:
- Students’ rights and responsibilities in a digital age
- Resilience building
- Current and emerging risks
- Help-seeking; how to obtain guidance and support
- Professional learning and capacity building for schools and their staff.
The Framework is an important component of eSafety’s work delivering on recommendations of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. The Royal Commission called for eSafety to oversee the development of a framework and resources that support schools in creating child-safe online environments.
eSafety commissioned Queensland University of Technology to undertake research as part of the consultation process to inform the Framework. The research report’s lead author, Professor Kerryann Walsh, said that the Framework was the culmination of a worldwide review and input from numerous school stakeholders.
“The idea of a framework was welcomed by everyone we spoke with and there was a sense that education is a crucial part of our national online safety response and a powerful tool for behaviour change,” Prof. Walsh said.
“Having the new Framework means that everyone in the education sector is talking the same language when it comes to understanding the issues and developing ways to enable students to be safe, positive, and well online” she said.
The Framework and its support materials are available from today for teachers and schools to download and implement here.