'You wouldn't leave them alone on the internet'
THE issue of cyber-bullying has been a hot topic of late, and further awareness will be raised today with a worldwide initiative.
Safer Internet Day is held annually on February 6, and has a theme this year of 'Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you'.
Southern Downs Regional Council, who has been vocal on the need for better cyber awareness, has got behind the day with the following message on their Facebook page:
"A better internet starts with you is a call to action for every stakeholder to play their part in creating a better internet for everyone, in particular the youngest users out there!
"More than that, it is an invitation for everyone to join in and engage with others in a respectful way in order to ensure a better digital experience.”
Mayor Tracy Dobie said the safety of young internet users was paramount.
"We all have a role in helping our children, whether they are relatives or friends, to understand safety on the internet,” Cr Dobie said.
"I heard a comment, if you wouldn't leave your children alone in a shopping centre, you wouldn't leave them alone on the internet.
"Children can certainly be affected by predators, and the internet means they can operate in a hidden secret environment.”
Cr Dobie said while the internet was a part of most people's lives, there was a need to take pre-cautions.
"The internet is a wonderful tool that can have a negative side. Almost everyone uses it now,” she said.
"People need to be aware of financial security, and for children and teenagers, it can be unsafe.
"From a safety side, people need to protect their personal information.”
A number of Australian personalities have become involved in the campaign to raise awareness for the need to stay safe on the internet, athletes from the NRL and Wallabies, through to journalists, radio hosts and researchers.
The government e-safety website features advice on what to do if you need help dealing with cyber-bullying, how to get in contact with counselling services and where you can report illegal or offensive content.
For more information on Safer Internet Day, head to: https://www.esafety.gov.au/saferinternetday.