When I was growing up, and even when my children were in their formative years, cyber safety was not really something that I had to worry about.
In current times cyber safety is crucial not only for children but people of all ages. The internet is an incredible tool which has evolved remarkably over the last 30 years; however we must all use caution when online. We need to be sure that we are using the World Wide Web in a way that is safe.
www.Cybersmart.gov.au is a website with information about cyber safety suitable for all ages. The information is presented in a fun and interactive manner and I encourage anyone, especially children, to have a look.
Engaging online can be very beneficial. Many of the schools in my electorate are using the internet in innovative ways. Some schools like North Star Public School have sent me a video blog, others are able to utilise online classroom tools to further the education opportunities available to them.
Whilst the advantages of the internet are obvious it can sometimes act as a double edged sword. One thing that is important for both parents and younger people to be aware of is cyber bullying. This is bullying that is done through social media sites and mobile devices.
There has been a significant amount of work done in this area in recent years to ensure that parents, teachers and students are aware of the issue. There are resources available to help identify cyber bullying and to learn how to best deal with a situation if it arises, including www.bullyingnoway.gov.au.
Friday the 21st March is a National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence. I encourage everyone to get behind this movement and to consider cyber safety.
I welcome the Federal Government’s investment of $31 million into Autism research. This measure was announced last week by Minister for Industry, Ian MacFarlane. The $31 million investment will be managed through the new Cooperative Research Centre for Living with Autism Spectrum Disorders (ASD).
The CRC will be able to focus research on finding answers in the areas of diagnosis, education and supporting people with autism in their daily lives.
The CRC has some fantastic goals including ensuring that we have a correct diagnosis of 70% of children with autism by the age of three, and 50% by the age of two.
In my role as the Federal Member I have met many families who have to deal with Autism Spectrum Disorders on a daily basis. Additional research, support and information will make a great difference and improve their quality of life. More information about the CRC is available at www.crc.gov.au.