Cyber Me keeping young people safer online with help from City of Joondalup

Lorraine Horsley and Linda Parkes.
Lorraine Horsley and Linda Parkes.

TWO former journalists have received a $15,000 grant from the City of Joondalup to progress a web-based program that aims to keep young people safer online.

Cyber Me is the brainchild of Lorraine Horsley and Linda Parkes.

Using gamification – elements of game playing such as point scoring, competition or rules of play – primary and early secondary students are given the tools to apply critical thinking in a controlled online environment.

The duo has been working with ECU’s School of Science, under the supervision of ECU Security Research Institute member David Cook, to develop the technology required to implement Cyber Me to ensure it looks and feels like a real online experience for users.

A pilot group, involving Year 4 students from across the City, will be involved in early testing in Term 4 2018.

Ms Horsley said the funding, through the City’s Innovation Fund, would help them to further develop the program.

The Innovation Fund offers grants of between $5000 and $20,000 to foster local initiatives that bring and create new business activities to Joondalup.

Chief executive Garry Hunt said the fund was established in recognition of advances in technology, which have changed the way businesses, government organisations, consumers and the community work, interact and live.

“The City has a goal to build Joondalup’s reputation as a place for innovation and creativity by enhancing growth in the creative industries and innovative businesses that expand local strategic employment,” he said.

The Cyber Me Year 4 program is scheduled to be fully functional for the start of the 2019 academic year.

There are also plans to roll out critical thinking and media workshops in schools next year.