Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Hon Roger Cook BA GradDipBus MBA MLA

Deputy Premier; Minister for Health; Mental Health

    Funding research projects to support safer school and online communities

    9/12/2018 9:00 AM
    • Research to prevent and manage bullying in Western Australian schools
    • New development of resources to support safer digital technology use in primary schools 

    Health Minister Roger Cook today announced Telethon Kids Institute will receive funding of $764,776 in Healthway grants to advance research into safer school and online communities.


    The grants are for two distinct projects; developing safe online practices in primary schools and targeting the problem of school bullying. 


    Led by Professor Donna Cross, a Western Australian team of child health researchers will co-ordinate Telethon Kids' Cyber Friendly Primary Schools project, which aims to support parents and schools to promote positive technology use by primary school aged children.


    This year, the Office of the eSafety Commissioner reported that a quarter of eight to 12-year-olds report receiving unwanted contact or content from people online.


    Cyber safety is an issue of particular concern to young people and their families, and this research will help to inform the development of new resources to prevent and reduce risk of harm among WA children and promote their wellbeing through positive and safe use of digital technology.


    Evidence shows that about one in six students in Australia between seven to 17 years of age are bullied at least once a week.


    Telethon Kids Institute researcher, Dr Jacinta Francis will lead the Building Out Bullying project to investigate how school policies and environmental factors can influence bullying, social relationships and mental health.


    The research will contribute to the first set of audit tools designed to objectively measure school-built environment features that influence a student's social and mental health.


    The research grants are provided under Healthway's Research Fellowship and Health Promotion Research Grants programs, and encourage research into the causes and reasons behind community health issues, as well as exploring ways to prevent harm.


    Comments attributed to Health Minister Roger Cook:


    "The McGowan Government supports this research to help ensure schools and parents have the right tools to nurture a safer environment for young people when they are online and to help eradicate bullying.  


    "A healthy school community is not only crucial for learning but for a child's mental health and wellbeing. It extends beyond the bricks and mortar to the culture, including the online environment. How young people feel about their school community is important to their sense of place, which we know is connected to positive mental health.


    "We know that cyber safety is a growing concern for parents, teachers and children so targeting children when they are still at primary school with this new research is timely and important. It will help prevent harm and provide skills for the safe use of digital technology."


    Minister's office - 6552 6500