A new e-safety program is helping create a new generation of online influencers.
The YeS Project, launched by the Office of the eSafety Commissioner on Friday, helps young people and teachers to understand and navigate online issues including cyberbullying and image-based abuse.
Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner, said it is hoped that the project will help spark important conversations about how students can positively influence their online world.
“As young Australians continue to encounter a range of confronting and challenging experiences online, it has never been more important to help young people positively shape their digital practices and support their peers,” Grant said.
“Reassuringly, our research suggests that young people are able to recognise the positive outcomes that arise from negative incidents online, like knowing how to manage these risks or helping a friend through online strife.”
Grant added that the project aims to build on these behaviours by empowering young people to be “supportive peers, sharing stories and knowing what to do if something goes wrong online”.
“It also helps teachers build their capacity in a space that can be uncomfortable and sometimes foreign – but one that is vital to understand in order to help young people navigate the online world more safely,” she said.
Teachers can choose from 12 standalone workshops to design a program that works for their students and school environment.
Grant said this “comprehensive and responsive” approach to eSafety learning helps to facilitate positive, long-term behavioural change.
“Students will develop skills to help lead, influence, mentor and support their fellow peers,” she added.
This digital and social health program is mapped against the Australian curriculum, and mirrors other health education initiatives, using an ethics framework to support young people caring for themselves, their peers and their worlds.