Cybersafety in schools must be taught from five years old: Report

Acceptable use agreements, early education key to preventing security issues

Schools must deal with cybersecurity issues that affect students both during school and outside school hours, a Federal Government report recommends.

The joint select committee on cybersafety’s report, High Wire Act: Cybersafety and the young, found that despite using technology from a young age, school students are not being taught how to stay safe online.

“Most Australian children are not receiving cybersafety messages from school until Year 2 (seven or eight years old) when they may already have been online for three years,” the report said.

“...The use of the internet should be in curriculum's from the first year of school, so that it is something that children grow up with and is common-place as other initiatives such as ‘stranger danger’.”

One way to encourage students to understand more about their use of the internet is through a school acceptable use policy, with the report recommending that a national scheme for this be put in place.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) last month announced it had launched a program aimed at helping teachers identify potential online threats to their students.

The report comes as Kids Helpline and Optus this month announced it would combat cybersafety issues by distributing cybersecurity education packs to over 10,000 primary and secondary schools nationally.

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