The Palaszczuk Government will throw $1 million behind an initiative to help families and schools deal with cyber-bullying.
Hundreds of Queensland schools are set to access new cybersafety programs as the Government partners with Dolly’s Dream and the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.
The Premier said the partnership, which would prioritise rural and regional schools, was a key component of the Palaszczuk Government’s $3.5 million commitment to implement the recommendations of the Anti-Cyberbullying Taskforce – the first of its kind in Australia.
“Cyberbullying means the troubles young people experience through the day don’t end at the school gate,” the Premier said.
“We want to work with Dolly’s Dream and the Alannah & Madeline Foundations to better equip parents and schools.
“We want to see responsible and capable school students who are safe from bullying, cyberbullying and violence and understand how their actions can impact others.
“We’re doing everything we can to help stamp out this insidious problem in our society and as a community, we’re doing it together.
“All Queensland schools can register to be part of the million-dollar program but we especially want rural and regional schools to get on board.
“This is just one of the ways we can reach all corners of our state and further educate our children that cyberbullying is unacceptable, it’s hurtful and it’s dangerous.”
Minister for Education Grace Grace said the program will incorporate a range of educational tools, workshops and one-on-one support for principals, teachers, students and parents.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for schools, especially boarding schools and those in regional locations, to join other Australian schools already participating in the eSmart programs, and that have attained eSmart status,” she said.
Tick and Kate Everett, founders of the Dolly’s Dream foundation, said the report (the Anti-Cyberbullying Taskforce Report, Adjust Our Settings: A community approach to address cyberbullying among children and young people in Queensland) was “everything we wanted and then some”.
“It feels incredible to be heard and we hope this is a national roll-out,” Ms Everett said.
Tick Everett said the report meant parents “who didn’t know what to do” now had answers.
Alannah & Madeline Foundation’s CEO, Lesley Podesta, praised the Queensland Government and particularly the Premier for her leadership and work to bring together a comprehensive state plan.
“We have to do everything possible to make sure children are safe from bullying,” Ms Podesta said.
Ms Grace said parents and teachers know only too well that while the internet is great for learning and socialising but that there are also some dark places and inappropriate content that is all too easy for children to stumble across.
“Sadly, we are also aware that in some cases, the internet can be used maliciously as a tool for bullying, scams and other undesirable behaviours,” Ms Grace said.
“The eSmart Schools Program aims to equip young people with knowledge and skills so that they are wary of the pitfalls, know how to behave appropriately online, and can get help should they need it.”
Ms Grace said $550,000 would be made valuable directly to schools through individual grants of $5,500 each.
“The Palaszczuk Government is also investing $450,000 to implement the Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s eSmart Schools Program in Queensland schools, while Dolly’s Dream Foundation is contributing a further $300,000.”