The Youth Disability Advocacy Service (YDAS) welcomes the announcement by the Minister for Youth Affairs Ryan Smith who today launched webWise, a new cyber safety initiative to assist young people stay safe online.
“Cyber bullying, social media risks and 'sexting' are key issues this initiative will tackle through workshops and training delivered by young peer educators who have expertise in cybersafety. As a community-based, youth-led initiative, webWise will support young Victorians most in need to have a positive experience of technology,” Mr Smith said.
YDAS is one of six services to be involved in delivering youth led training in the community. Youth Disability Advocacy Service Manager, Dr George Taleporos, said “young people with disabilities face both risks and benefits when using online technologies, and we know that young people with a cognitive disability face specific challenges in this area. We look forward to supporting young people with a disability to embrace technology and feel safe in the process. There are many benefits to being part of social media – it helps builds community, which reduces isolation”.
“The $200,000 funding from government over two years will enable us to work with young people and our partner organisations, VALID and Association for Children with Disabilities, to develop resources targeted towards people with cognitive disabilities who are most vulnerable to online deception and scams. We also look forward to providing employment opportunities for young people with disabilities whom we will be engaging as peer educators to deliver the training across the state,” Dr Taleporos said.
Other strategies include the development of tailored resources such as plain English 'tip sheets' designed for people with a cognitive disability as well as easily accessible information for parents and carers, tailored video podcasts and interactive displays.
YDAS volunteer Jarrod Marrinon said “as a young person I use the internet and social media a lot and it is a very important part of my life. webWise is a great initiative as it will give me and my peers the ability to use the internet and social media safely and confidently.”
Minister Smith backed this, saying “accessing technology is an important part of young people’s lives. It provides opportunities for education, socialisation and participation in the community. That’s why we want all young people, particularly the most vulnerable, to do this safely.”
YDAS is a statewide advocacy service of the Youth Affairs Council of Victoria (YACVic) funded by the Victorian Government. CEO Georgie Ferrari congratulates the Minister for Youth on the webWise initiative. "YACVic welcomes this significant investment from the Baillieau Government that will ensure young people and parents are better informed on issues relating to cybersafety". Ms Ferrari said.
To learn more about YDAS visit the website www.ydas.org.au31/8/2011