The Coalition's discussion paper on enhancing online safety for children

19 November 2012

This discussion paper by the current Federal opposition coalition parties examines cyber safety for children and adolescence.

It is estimated that 90 per cent of Australian high school students have a Facebook account. Parents, teachers and schools are concerned about the dangers of cyber-bullying, predatory behaviour and children accessing age-inappropriate content. Australian children are immersed in the internet. While the internet delivers profound benefits, it also presents dangers. Facebook, networking games, smart phones and iPads are all part of the typical daily life of today’s children.

This has become a new area of responsibility for parents, many of whom feel ill-equipped to respond to a world they know little of. In releasing a Discussion Paper on Online Safety for Children, the Coalition is seeking input from parents, schools, young people and industry about ways we can help children to safely participate in the online world. Issues raised in the Discussion Paper include: Establishing a Children’s e-Safety Commissioner to take a national leadership role in online safety for children. Implementing Rapid Removal protocols with large social media outlets for material that is targeted at and likely to cause harm to an Australian child, through a co-operative regulatory scheme.

Assisting parents and carers make informed decisions about devices such as smartphones and tablets, by establishing recognised branding indicating their suitability for younger children and teenagers. Providing greater support for schools through a stronger online safety component within the National Safe Schools Framework, and assisting with online safety resources for schools. Undertaking a national public education campaign to highlight online safety issues.

Authors: Mr Paul Fletcher MP (Chair), Senator Gary Humphries (Senator for Australian Capital Territory), Mr Alex Hawke MP (Member for Mitchell), Mrs Natasha Griggs MP (Member for Solomon), Mr Wyatt Roy MP (Member for Longman), Mr Patrick Secker MP (Member for Barker), Senator Stephen Parry (Senator for Tasmania), Senator Bridget McKenzie (Senator for Victoria) and Mr Luke Simpkins MP (Member for Cowan).

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