A new partnership between the Australian Federal Police and Commonwealth Bank will tackle the growing issues of cyberbullying and online exploitation of children, boosting the reach and education efforts of the ThinkUKnow cyber safety program.
Since June 2014, 20 per cent of children/teenagers aged between 8 and 17—or 463,000—have been victims of cyberbullying. There has also been a 54 per cent increase in reports of child exploitation related matters in the past financial year (received by the AFP).
The ThinkUKnow program helps keep Australian children safe by raising awareness of the risks and opportunities presented by technology. Under the program, internet safety sessions are delivered to parents, carers and teachers at schools and other community organisations.
Since the ThinkUKnow program launched in 2009, more than 37 000 parents, carers, teachers, and community members have participated in the initiative.
Minister for Justice Michael Keenan announced the partnership at Sydney’s Malabar Public School this morning with Commonwealth Bank CIO David Whiteing and AFP Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton.
Having the Commonwealth Bank—Australia’s largest bank—sign on as a partner will significantly expand the program, allowing more parents, carers and teachers across Australia to receive cyber safety sessions.
ThinkUKnow’s focus on parents recognises that children and young people often out pace their parents in the adoption of new technologies.
A growing number are engaging with ‘friends’ and ‘followers’ via Facebook, Instagram, SnapChat and Kik, and 95 per cent of children now use the internet regularly, with eight-year-olds online daily. For 41 per cent of children, it serves as their ‘second screen’ between 7 and 9pm on school nights.
AFP Deputy Commissioner Graham Ashton said as kids continue engaging online using various social media accounts, usually several at a time, establishing good cyber safety behaviours early has become more important than ever.
“The AFP, together with our industry and police partners, remain committed to ensuring the safety of all Australian children online and making the internet a safer environment for our digital generation,” Deputy Commissioner Ashton said.
“It is crucial we empower parents and carers and give them the tools and strategies to help keep our kids safe in the physical as well as ‘virtual’ world.”
Commonwealth Bank Chief Information Officer David Whiteing said he was proud to partner with the Australian Federal Police and industry to support the award-winning cyber safety program.
“Commonwealth Bank has a long history of helping teach children about money and saving through our school banking and financial literacy programs. In today’s digital age with more saving and spending occurring online, cyber awareness and cyber literacy are a natural extension of our long-standing role in the community,” Mr Whiteing said.
“From our involvement with the ThinkUKnow program to date, we can already see what a big difference it makes and how grateful parents and teachers are to have the knowledge and support to help keep kids safe online.”
As a partner, Commonwealth Bank will provide volunteers to deliver cyber safety sessions across the country, in partnership with law enforcement officers and founding industry partners Microsoft and Datacom, as part of a three-year sponsorship agreement. It will also help promote the program’s cyber safety sessions to the community.
For further information and resources on ThinkUKnow or to register your school for a free presentation, go to http://www.thinkuknow.org.au/.
The ThinkUKnow brand was originally developed by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP), a division of the National Crime Agency in the UK and is licenced in Australia to the Australian Federal Police.
ThinkUKnow Australia is a law enforcement and industry partnerships, incorporating the AFP, Microsoft Australia, Datacom and now Commonwealth Bank.
ThinkUKnow is delivered in partnership with:
• Neighbourhood Watch Australasia
• New South Wales Police Force
• Northern Territory Police
• Queensland Police Service
• South Australia Police
• Western Australia Police
• Tasmania Police
• ACT Policing.
ThinkUKnow, together with its partners, aims to educate both adults and young people about the risks online and how to create a safer online experience for young people.