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Tomorrow is Safer Internet Day and ACMA is backing the initiative as part of its Cybersmart program with a stark warning to social networkers.Using the slogan ‘It’s more than a game, it’s your life, the Australian Communications and Media Authority is urging the almost 9 million Australians who accessed social networking sites from their home computers alone last year to wake up to the threat of the internet.

More than 25 per cent of those users were under the age of 18, and the key messages ACMA is imparting to them is to focus on their digital reputation when using social networking sites such as Facebook, as well as online behaviour and protecting privacy. 

“These are essential messages for young people. While many claim to know the risks of posting too much personal or inappropriate information online, they may not always translate that into safe online behaviour,” said ACMA Chairman, Chris Chapman. “Thinking about the consequences before posting on your social networking site may help to minimise negative experiences online.

“The internet is increasingly important in our lives, especially among children and young adults,” Chapman added. “Safer Internet Day is in line with the government’s commitment to cybersafety education. It helps raise awareness about the safe and responsible use of online technologies.”

 

As part of its commitment to the initiative, ACMA has provided a suite of tools and tips and is holding cybersafety educational activities in schools throughout Australia.

More than 1500 students will take part in a Cybersmart Detectives activity in primary schools, and students aged 7-10 will partake in a national three-day online forum covering key aspects of the day’s theme. Teachers will also be provided with lesson plans covering social networking and the importance of online etiquette.

ACMA is also working with police, education authorities and non-government organisations across Australia on a number of Cybersmart outreach presentations in schools and libraries.

More than 60 countries across Europe, North and South America, Asia and Australia are set to take part in Safer Internet Day initiative.

The Which? Consumer Guide in the UK also posted 7 tips for internet users.  They include:

Install online software and keep it updated
Be wary of unfamiliar emails and pop-ups
Only use secure shopping sites
Protect your online ID
Use strong online passwords
Educate your children about online safety
Secure your wireless network.
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