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Teaching students tackle cyber-safety at conference

Teachers in training are being taught cyber-safety for themselves and their students by a children’s e-safety official.

The Stepping Out conference at the Queensland University of Technology  gave final-year faculty of education students the opportunity to hear from Alastair MacGibbon, the new federal children’s e-safety commissioner. MacGibbon leads Australia’s cyber-education for children policy and is responsible for developing measures to protect children from cyber-bullying.

Under new legislation, teachers are required to be aware of the process for reporting cyber-bullying and MacGibbon said it was imperative that teachers be able to handle instances of cyber-bullying.

“It’s not part of the curriculum but teachers should be able to assist a child if they approach them about a cyber-bullying incident, including reporting them to the e-safety commissioner for removal,” he said. “Schools can respond to students who are bullying others by using mediation methodologies; however, education and prevention help address cyber-bullying before it occurs.”

Dr Rebecca Spooner-Lane, from QUT’s faculty of education, co-ordinated the conference and said while new teachers can thrive during the transition from university to classroom, it is imperative they know the ins and outs of cyber-safety. She also said mentoring support, such as the conference, was necessary for new teachers so they could learn the nuances of effective teaching.

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