With students heading back to school in the next few weeks, the Australian government has seen now as the right time to launch an addition to a program designed to encourage online safety and make kids more respectful moving forward.

Launched by Prime Minister Julia Gillard and developed in conjunction with internet security company McAfee, the “bCyberwise” program will add to the long running Life Education program, aiming to show students the risks of online experiences, and how better to deal with social situations and developing relationships in the digital world.

“Digital media has become an important and mostly positive aspect of the education, leisure and social lives of today’s children but it also creates some potential risks to their safety and wellbeing,” said Dr. Helen McGrath, a consultant to the bCyberwise program. “The provision of this type of cyber safety curriculum in their early learning years will help children to cope safely and respectfully in this new digital environment.”

This program aims to help students in primary school start to understand what they do on the web, with the promotion of positive relationships, self-respect, cyber security, safety, and what would be considered responsible behaviour online, which could shape the students offline as well.

“Life Education is very excited about its partnership with McAfee,” said Life Education CEO David Ballhausen. “It’s enabling us to create new and age appropriate program content that supports schools and teachers in the development of core life skills such as building positive and respectful relationships online, communicating effectively and making decisions in social situations.”

Schools around the country will begin to see the program from February 4th.