Telstra Foundation pumps $8m into cyber safety education

A six-year, $8 million program designed to improve cyber safety amongst Australian consumers has been launched by the Telstra Foundation and The Alannah and Madeline Foundation.

The foundations will develop the cyber safety education program, eSmart Libraries, and work with Australia’s 1500 public libraries to educate communities around the country about cyber safety.

Public libraries were chosen to deliver the program, as according to The Alannah and Madeline Foundation chief executive, Dr Judith Slocombe, many sectors of the community rely on their library for computer use and Internet access.

“Over 54 per cent of Australians are members of libraries which are regarded as central places for community members to learn and ask questions,” she said in a statement.

According to a Telstra spokesman, the eSmart Libraries will be piloted at 20 clusters, or networks, of libraries in early 2013 with plans to roll it out to the rest of Australia later that year.

The cyber safety program is an extension of eSmart Schools, which The Alannah and Madeline Foundation has made available to all Australian schools since 2011 in a bid tackle cyber bullying. According to Slocombe, more than 1400 schools have adopted eSmart, with more schools coming on board every week.

Telstra has been contacted for more information by Computerworld Australia and is waiting for a response.

Follow Hamish Barwick on Twitter: @HamishBarwick

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