Telstra and Family Online Safety Institute Forum spotlights digital citizenship

Media Release, 24 June 2013

Some of the world’s foremost experts on digital citizenship will discuss the latest thinking on creating positive online behaviours at a global forum in Melbourne this week.

The Global Digital Citizenship: Encouraging Safe and Responsible Online Use Forum - hosted by Telstra and the Family Online Safety Institute (FOSI) - will explore issues including the state of online safety around the globe, how to promote the idea of online citizenship and Australia’s response to cyber safety in a global perspective.

This is the first time a prestigious FOSI Forum has been held in Australia.

Telstra General Manager Digital Inclusion Jill Riseley, said while cyber safety has been in the spotlight for a number of years, Australia was now seeing a shift to digital citizenship.

“Being a digital citizen means acquiring the skills, knowledge and critically the values to effectively and safely participate in the online world,” Ms Riseley said.

“The online future for global citizens is about being an empowered and responsible community member, much like in the offline world. As global inhabitants of the online world, digital citizens will be judged across all their online encounters, which will also resonate in their offline lives.

“We’re dedicated to ensuring our customers have confidence in the online world, and that means addressing access, economic, societal and behavioural barriers to the digital world.

“This Forum will enable us to share the most up-to-date evidence from around the globe, to inform and give direction to future products and programs to help address the emerging digital citizenship divide.”

The Family Online Safety Institute’s CEO Stephen Balkam said Telstra was taking the lead in tackling the ever-changing nature of the online safety landscape by focusing on digital citizenship and exploring the potential for enhanced collaboration and improvements on current practice.

“Technology has enormous positive potential for society, yet we face an ongoing challenge to minimise the risks of online engagement while maximising the positive benefits of technology,” Mr Balkam said.

“We believe that a combination of tools, rules and schools offers a holistic approach to Internet safety that ensures a positive, enriching online environment for all.

“FOSI is pleased to partner with Telstra, a company globally acknowledged as a leader in the cyber safety space, to further examine these issues.”

At the conference Mr Balkam will announce Australians would now have access to FOSI’s, an online resource centre brimming with helpful advice, tips and information aimed at increasing online citizenship for teenagers and their parents.

“We’re operating today in a digital world, and I’m pleased to announce Australians will have access to our global platform for resources, ideas and discussions,” Mr Balkam said.

“We will partner with Netsafe and the Alannah and Madeline Foundation to bring Australasian specific content to the site for our new users, to help them become effective, safe and responsible digital citizens.”

To view the full conference program for the Global Digital Citizenship Forum visit:

Telstra and FOSI acknowledge our sponsors for the Global Digital Citizenship Forum: Australian Communications and Media Authority’s Cybersmart Program, Google and Microsoft – three organisations which value digital citizenship and embody these principles through their programs and their work.

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