Australian singer Vanessa Amorosi will join Kids Helpline and Optus representatives today to talk about The Make Cyberspace a Better Place education packs, aimed at teaching young people about internet safety.
Kids Helpline General Manager Wendy Protheroe said every Australian school has started the year equipped with the education packs, which feature a series of lesson plans and resources teachers can use to help students make safer choices online.
“We’re calling on teachers around the nation to embrace Safer Internet Day on Tuesday (February 7) and use these packs as a way to start discussions about cyber safety,” Ms Protheroe said.
“We developed the packs in conjunction with our partner, Optus, to increase young people’s awareness and understanding about cyberbullying, sexting and general online safety.
“It is wonderful that Vanessa, who has had a long relationship with Kids Helpline and is passionate about children’s safety issues, is helping us raise awareness about this 21st century issue.
“Each year Kids Helpline conducts about 2,400 counselling sessions in which young people are worried about bullying, cyberbullying or harassment and we know that cyberbullying impacts on self-confidence, self-esteem, friendships, school grades and family relationships.”
Ms Amorosi, who was bullied as a teenager, is committed to initiatives that educate and empower young people to make safer and wiser choices.
“Young people today spend a huge amount of time interacting with people in online communities and many don’t think of potential safety issues,” Ms Amorosi said.
“Bullying has always been a problem but when it spills into the internet there is no escaping it.
“I think it is important for young people to know there are resources they can access and strategies they can implement to manage cyberbullying, to remain safe in cyberspace and to rise above the bullies.”
The education packs, which target years 3-6, 7-9 and 10-12, have been sent to all schools and can be downloaded from the Kids Helpline website at www.kidshelp.com.au.
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only national children’s counselling service and provides professional counselling 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Freecall 1800 55 1800