New Australia-first cyber safety app a guiding light for parents

15 September 2020
  • Bankwest and Telethon Kids Institute launch ‘Beacon’ - a new cyber safety app for parents
  • Australia-first app provides single source of truth from national leader in children’s research
  • Beacon helps parents tackle online threats such as grooming, cyber bullying and stalking

Australian parents have a new weapon in the battle to keep their kids safe online with the launch of ‘Beacon’ – an Australia-first, evidence and science based cyber safety app.

Beacon is designed specifically for parents as an individually tailored one-stop-shop source of reliable, trustworthy information about digital risks and threats facing kids such as online grooming, cyber bullying and stalking.

Beacon personalises content for parents with alerts to the latest cutting-edge information and strategies, tailored to match family profiles based on children’s ages, areas of interest and devices.

The app’s content is designed to integrate seamlessly into parents’ daily lives, with research-based information complemented by ideas, strategies and support options.

Beacon’s unique features are headlined by an interactive feature that supports parents to create their own tailor-made online agreement with their children to encourage and enable healthy online behaviours around screen time, expectations and boundaries.

Personalised content is delivered from a comprehensive library of more than 600 critical family digital tips, unique search functionality, videos and blogs, including strategies for addressing challenging issues such as screen time and cyberbullying.

The app was made possible by a three-year partnership that combines 14 years of cyber behaviour research at Telethon Kids Institute with Bankwest’s digital and cyber safety expertise.

Telethon Kids researchers have conducted over 30 projects investigating young people’s online behaviours, totalling over $5 million in funding since 2007.

This pipeline of research includes world-first interventions to address online benefits and challenges for children, young people, parents and members of the school community.

The partnership was prompted by Bankwest research that revealed high levels of concern from parents for their children’s online safety and confusion over where to get help and advice.

The survey showed more than three quarters of the community (78%) is concerned about their children’s online safety, with the same number worried about online grooming or stalking.

Cyber bullying was also among the top concerns (77%), followed by the effects of screen time on children’s health (73%) and its negative effects on children’s social skills (70%).

Professor Donna Cross’s research team at Telethon Kids has had a long-standing collaboration with the eSafety Commissioner, who supports the team’s cyber bullying and social and emotional wellbeing research, including working collaboratively on the Beacon app to share cyber safety information and support to families in a trusted one-stop-shop app.

Since 2003, Common Sense Media has been the leading source of entertainment and technology recommendations for families and schools in America. The collaboration has allowed Beacon to provide reviews and advice for families to navigate the digital world.

The Beacon app is now available to download for free on the App Store and Google Play store.

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