Keeping our kids safe in the digital world

Educating parents, teachers and school kids about staying safe online

ThinkUKnow is a free, evidence-based cyber safety programme that provides education for Australian parents, carers, teachers and students. It provides information on the technologies young people use, the challenges they may face online, and most importantly, how they can stay safe and continue to enjoy using technology without putting themselves at risk.

ThinkUKnow was started in the United Kingdom by the Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) and was developed for Australian audiences by the Australian Federal Police in 2009. The Australian programme is a partnership between the Australian Federal Police, Microsoft Australia, Datacom and the Commonwealth Bank. It is delivered in collaboration with New South Wales Police Force, Northern Territory Police, Queensland Police Service, South Australia Police, Tasmania Police, Western Australia Police and Victoria Police as well as Neighbourhood Watch Australia. It is Australia’s first (and only) nationally delivered crime prevention program.

Young people use the internet to pass time on more devices than ever before, whether it’s chat apps on a smartphone, online videos on a personal tablet or gaming on a laptop. It is an important part of growing up in the 21st century that young people learn to question the value and accuracy of the content they see online. Accessing inappropriate material is psychologically harmful to children and exposure may desensitise children to extreme material, such as pornography, child exploitation material, radicalised ideologies and cyberbullying.

ThinkUKnow sees security vetted and AFP trained volunteers visiting local schools around Australia. They educate parents, carers and teachers about how best to tackle issues such as social media reputation management, cyberbullying, ‘sexting’, online grooming, online gaming, inappropriate content, privacy management, identity theft, how to protect your devices, and how to report matters when things go wrong.

In Australia, 10-20 per cent of children and young people have been cyberbullied according to the Joint Select Committee on Cyber-Safety (2011) Cyberbullying involves using technology such as mobile phones and the internet to bully or harass another person.

ThinkUKnow presentations empower parents, carers and teachers to communicate openly with young people about what they do online, the challenges they may face, what they can do and who to talk to if they have an issue.

As a lead sponsor of ThinkUKnow, Datacom provides the behind-the-scenes technical and logistical support, including running ThinkUKnow’s booking system and call centre. We also provide onthe-ground volunteers across the country to deliver presentations to school kids and parents alike.

As one of the founding and extremely active partners in the program, Datacom has almost 50 volunteers across Australia delivering open forum presentations to more than 9,200 parents, teachers and carers across 270 schools, community groups and organisations last year. In turn, these volunteers can spread the message further and help keep a generation of young people safe online.

According to the Australian Federal Police’s Cyber and Child Safety Team Leader, Brooke Jones, Datacom is fundamental in achieving ThinkUKnow’s mission of making every Australian safe, respectful and resilient online. “Datacom plays an integral role to the success of the programme by providing administration resources, a ThinkUKnow contact centre operating out of Datacom’s Sydney office and participation of staff volunteers who present at schools and organisations across Australia.”

“With adult bookings increasing by 60 per cent from last year, Datacom’s expertise continues to be critical in increasing the reach of the program into metropolitan, rural and regional Australia.”

Brooke Jones, Cyber and Child Safety Team Leader, Australian Federal Police