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Safer Internet Day marks 10th anniversary

Today is the 10th anniversary of Safer Internet Day, a global initiative to raise online safety awareness. This year's theme, 'Online Rights and Responsibilities -- Connect with Respect', focuses on online privacy, digital reputation and citizenship, and is held in more than 90 countries around the world.

The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) will today stream a live radio program from 5pm to 8pm (AEST) on the Cybersmart website. Telstra, Facebook Australia, the Interactive Games and Entertainment Association (iGEA), along with other Australian industry groups and school students will take part in the program.

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Nearly 22,000 Australian school students are participating in an online safety awareness presentation by Cybersmart Outreach, ACMA said. Online interactive activities are also available to teach school students about cyber safety as part of the Cybersmart Challenge. The amount of schools students getting involved in these activities has increased from 3200 last year, it said.

"Safer Internet Day is a fantastic opportunity for us all to come back to the basics of online safety by thinking about how we can be better digital citizens," ACMA Deputy Chairman, Richard Bean, said in a statement. "The resources Cybersmart is providing for the day allow everyone to participate and show our practical online safety material to the world."

The Office of the Victorian Privacy Commissioner released a statement on Safer Internet Day reminding people about the dangers of digital and online technology.

"In 2012, the results from our Youth Advisory Group survey on sexting revealed that 'a significant number of young people have engaged in sexting and demonstrate the existence of a sexting subculture.' This highlights just one of many issues relating to privacy and technology facing the community today," said Dr Anthony Bendall, Acting Victorian Privacy Commissioner.

"In the online world a small slip-up can have devastating consequences, so the best protection is always prevention. If a problem does occur the most important thing is to do something about it, quickly. This might mean using the Cybersafety Help button, talking to a trusted adult, contacting my Office for advice and referral, or simply changing your privacy settings."

Cybersmart, ACMA's a national cybersafety and cybersecurity education program, listed some basic 'rights and responsibilities' on its website that every citizen is entitled to.

Rights:

  • Privacy, protection and safety -- all social networking sites and mobile devices must have privacy settings for people to be able to protect their personal information.
  • Report offensive, threatening, obscene or illegal content or behaviour -- all social networking sites must have a way for people to be able to report abuse on the site. ACMA also offers a hotline for reporting illegal material found on the Web.
  • Education -- there are free and accessible resources, such as the free Cybersafety Help button for a computer desktop or mobile device, to help educate yourself and others on cyber safety and how to take action on abuse.

Responsibilities:

  • Respect and protect yourself and others -- encourage friends and family to report abuse and seek help from support organisations such Kids Helpline and Cybersmart Online Helpline Service. Be aware that posting content may have consequences to your digital reputation and the reputation of others.
  • Keep a balance -- be aware that too much gaming and social networking may affect your health and relationships with others, and keep personal information private when chatting or playing with other gamers.

Follow Rebecca Merrett on Twitter: @Rebecca_Merrett

Follow Computerworld Australia on Twitter: @ComputerworldAU, or take part in the Computerworld conversation on LinkedIn: Computerworld Australia


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