Funding Boost To Keep Our Students Safe Online

Thousands more Victorian students will be taught how to stay safe online with the rollout of the successful cyber-safety eSmart program to every school in the state, thanks to a funding boost from the Andrews Labor Government.

Premier Daniel Andrews and Minister for Education James Merlino today announced an additional $2.5 million to enable all Victorian schools – including government and non-government – to use the Alannah and Madeline Foundation’s eSmart program for free, meaning almost 1 million students will benefit from it every year.

This is on top of the $12.2 million that has already been provided and has seen 71 per cent – or 1,569 – of Victoria’s 2,246 schools already using the effective and popular eSmart cyber-safety program.

eSmart provides support for government, Catholic and independent schools to create cyber-safe environments for their students through policies and practices encouraging students to use technology responsibly.

This includes helping schools to: create their own plans, policies and procedures, access the latest resources and tools, as well as record, track and report on their progress in achieving eSmart status.

With our kids now accessing the internet and social media at unprecedented levels, programs like eSmart to help them make smart choices online are more important than ever.

This is in addition to a suite of Victorian anti-bullying resources being brought together under the Labor Government’s new $7 million Victorian Anti Bullying and Mental Health Initiative, including Bully Stoppers, Safe Schools, Respectful Relationships and new initiatives to tackle racist bullying.

Around one in five young people experience bullying, affecting their academic performance and self-esteem, leading to anxiety, depression and self-harm.