In a pre-budget announcement, communications minister Michelle Rowland said the government will spend $6 million over three years for safety-focussed online learning tools to be delivered by the Alannah and Madeline Foundation.
The tools will include two “digital licences” and a media literacy lab.
The eSmart Digital Licence+ targets students aged 10 to 14, while the eSmart Junior Digital licence will target primary students aged between five and nine years.
The eSmart Media Literacy Lab will “help support the development of critical thinking skills and online civic engagement” among 12- to 16-year-olds.
The government explained that the resources “will make digital literacy programs freely available to all skills”, and will help students get the skills to be “critical, responsible and active citizens online”.
The ACCC’s Digital Platforms Inquiry report recommended improving digital media literacy education in Australian schools, to help children critically assess the news and content they see online.
“By 2025, every primary and secondary school in Australia will have the opportunity to engage with the Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s digital literacy products, which is a major boost in our commitment to keep children safe from harm,” Roland said.
“Children are particularly vulnerable to online harms. Ensuring we have the resources in place – and the expertise available to deliver them – will empower children to interact safely online.
“Australian children should be provided with the tools to face online issues.”