Optus’ free program teaches safe and smart Internet usage
Optus’ Digital Thumbprint is making milestones across Australia, with aims of educating students on how to be safer and smarter online.
With COVID-19 causing the majority of Australians to stay at home for several months, we saw a spike in Internet activity. And with that spike comes a lot of concern.
In fact, the latest McAfee’s 2021 Consumer Security Mindset Report indicates that two thirds of Australians are concerned about cyber attacks after spending more time online during the coronavirus pandemic. Most are concerned about financial data, while 65 percent are concerned about their social media accounts getting hacked.
With such spikes in Internet activity, as well as concerns, the importance of Optus’ Digital Thumbprint program couldn’t be more apparent. In this post, we’ll tell you all about this free program and how you can access its resources.
About Optus’ Digital Thumbprint
The Optus Digital Thumbprint Program launched in 2013. The government accredited program is completely free, with goals of teaching children to be safe online. The program also focuses on other aspects like digital responsibility and positivity though interactive workshops.
Optus’ Digital Thumbprint Program offers five topics, two of which are focused on as Core Concepts so that you can select what’s most relevant to your students. They include:
- Cyber Security
- Cyber Bullying and Respectful Relationships Online
- Digital Identity
- Digital Balance, and
- Digital Discernment
The 5 key topics of Optus’ Digital Thumbprint program. src
With these 5 key topics, students can a get a rounded curriculum regarding healthy online behaviour, and not just how to avoid getting hacked or extorted on the Internet. As stated, the program is free for schools, making it all the more effective in educating young people on safe and positive digital behaviour.
Recent accomplishments of Optus’ Digital Thumbprint program
Since its launch in 2013, the Optus Digital Thumbprint Program has educated 300,000 primary and secondary students across Australia regarding safe and smart online behaviour. In 2019 alone, 50,000 participated in the program.
Recently, over 2,300 students benefited from the free program. They hailed from Bundaberg Christian College, Bundaberg State High School and St Luke’s College during a 2-week roadshow that has a target of reaching over 4,500 students in seven schools.
Optus’ Digital Thumbprint program also includes free online resources
And while the Digital Thumbprint program seems tailored for face-to-face education, there were digital versions online last year. For instance, Year 7 students at St. Josephs’s College in Victoria participated in program online.
Students and parents can also log on the Optus’ Digital Thumbprint program’s website to take advantage of some free online resources. For instance, parents could educate themselves about current social media platforms like TikTok, by downloading the free TikTok guide on about how to talk to your children about safe interaction on the platform, and how to report inappropriate or dangerous interactions.
There are also video resources for learning how to navigate the vast social media world, as well as other parent-specific, student-specific, and teacher-specific resources, all aimed at keeping children digitally safe, aware, positive, and responsible.
Final words – Recent spike in online activity shows the need for programs like Optus’ Digital Thumbprint
COVID-19 has had a lot of effects in how Australians live. Measures to stem the spread of the virus caused a lot of Australians to stay home in an effort to practice social distance. This meant Australians having more time on their hands, which in turn led to high spikes in Internet usage. In fact, the increased online presence has been a worldwide phenomenon – not just Australian.
A Statista survey last year indicated that mobile phone usage had spiked 70 percent worldwide, while laptop and desktop usage had spiked 30 percent and 40 percent respectively, all during the peak of the coronavirus pandemic. No doubt, these increased time spent on gadgets meant increased time spent online. In fact, we saw telcos experience spikes in data traffic last year due to increased Internet usage.
With such increases, it is imperative that Australians are armed with the knowledge necessary to avoid becoming victims of Internet fraud and other cyber attacks, as well as to become more responsible and positive online. These are the goals of Optus’ Digital Thumbprint program, making it a great initiative from the telco.