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Anti-bullying organisation Dolly’s Dream and Telethon Kids Institute launch new partnership with free cyber safety app, Beacon

Dolly's Dream 4 mins read


Dolly’s Dream has partnered with the Telethon Kids Institute to get Beacon, the free cyber safety app, into the hands of parents and carers across the nation.

The incidence of cyberbullying is on the rise and the impact on children and young people is a serious concern for families. Co-designed with input from parents and carers and cyber safety experts including the eSafety Commissioner, Beacon provides families with trustworthy, practical resources to help them confidently navigate their children’s technology use and reduce associated harms.

Families receive content tailored to their needs – including articles, videos and alerts – from a comprehensive library of strategies and tips to help address challenging issues such as screen time, gaming and cyberbullying. The content is regularly updated in response to changing Australian societal and online trends.

Beacon, a multi-award-winning app based on more than 15 years of cyber safety research and more than 30 years of bullying research conducted by researchers at the Telethon Kids Institute has been downloaded almost 25,000 times since being launched in 2020.

“We’ve seen an alarming increase in complaints of cyberbullying to eSafety over the past few years, especially since the pandemic,” eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said.

“It’s more important than ever that parents and carers stay informed and involved in their children’s online lives and Beacon is a fantastic resource to help them do that.

“Wherever they are in Australia, I encourage families to use the app and report cases of serious cyberbullying to us at eSafety.gov.au. We can remove harmful online content very quickly.”

Leading Australian bullying researcher, Emeritus Professor Donna Cross, from Telethon Kids Institute said the app – which families can personalise according to their children’s ages, interests and devices – had been embraced by families who were desperate for quality information about cyber safety, cyberbullying and the online world.

“We developed Beacon because parents felt overwhelmed with the amount of information they are receiving and didn’t have the time to scour the internet for robust research about the ever-changing online world,” Emeritus Professor Cross said.

“We created a one-stop-shop that provides reliable information and support that families can immediately apply to their own context to reduce the potential harms associated with being online.”

All the information within Beacon is informed by research, giving families a trustworthy resource, they can use quickly and easily, by browsing the information by topic or using the search bar to answer specific questions about cyber safety.

Program Head of Population Health at Telethon Kids Institute, Associate Professor Francis Mitrou, said one of the app’s most popular features is an interactive tool which helps families to create custom family agreements.

“The family agreement enables them to have important conversations with their children, role model positive online behaviours, and maintain rules around screen time and device-free zones that suit their own family’s needs, which we know are practical ways to reduce the potential impact that cyberbullying can have on children and young people’s lives,” Associate Professor Mitrou said.

With the collective expertise of both Dolly’s Dream and Telethon Kids Institute the partnership means Beacon will continue to support families with cyber safety advice and help keep children and families safe and better able to enjoy the benefits of using technology.

Dolly’s Dream was established by Tick and Kate Everett following the shattering loss of their 14-year-old daughter, Dolly, to suicide after she experienced sustained bullying and cyberbullying. The national not-for-profit organisation is working to change the culture of bullying – and address associated impacts including anxiety, depression and youth suicide – through education and direct support to young people and families.

Dolly’s parents Kate and Tick Everett said, “Since starting Dolly’s Dream, we have wanted an app in our program offering to further support parents and carers in navigating their way around the online world to help their children.

We are excited about partnering with the Telethon Kids Institute on the Beacon app so that we can get this important information and advice into parents’ hands across Australia, especially in our rural, regional and remote communities.”

“We don’t want other families to ever have to go through the heartache we have experienced. We hope Beacon will continue to provide the support and information to families and communities that we wish we had.”

The Beacon app is free and available now to download for iOS and Android devices.
www.dollysdream.org.au 


Key Facts:

 

ABOUT THE BEACON APP

• Launched in September 2020, Beacon was originally developed by Telethon Kids Institute as part of a three-year partnership with Bankwest under the leadership of anti-bullying and cyber safety expert Emeritus Professor Donna Cross

• Beacon addresses the concern from parents for their children’s online safety, along with confusion over where to get support and trusted advice

• Organisations including the Fathering Project and the eSafety Commissioner supported the app’s development to ensure it met the needs of the target audience – parents and carers of children aged up to 18 years

• More than 50 local, state and national organisations – including government, national cyber safety educators, the technology industry, nationally recognised support services and not-for-profit community organisations –support Beacon Australia-wide.


Available for interview:

• Charlotte Keating – Clinical psychologist and Advisory Board member for Dolly’s Dream

• Emeritus Professor Donna Cross – Telethon Kids Institute

• Kate & Tick Everett – Dolly Everett’s parents and Founders of Dolly’s Dream


About us:


About Dolly’s Dream:
Dolly’s Dream was created by Kate and Tick Everett following the shattering loss of their 14-year-old daughter, Dolly, to suicide, after ongoing bullying. Kate and Tick’s goal is to prevent other families walking this road. They want to change the culture of bullying by addressing the impact of bullying, anxiety, depression and youth suicide, through education and direct support to young people and families. Dolly’s Dream is proudly brought to you by the Alannah & Madeline Foundation.


About Telethon Kids Institute:
The Telethon Kids Institute is one of the largest and most successful medical research institutes in Australia, comprising a dedicated and diverse team of more than 1,200 staff and students. We've created a bold blueprint that brings together community, researchers, practitioners, policy makers and funders, who share our vision to improve the health and wellbeing of children through excellence in research. The Institute is headed by leading paediatrician and infectious diseases expert Professor Jonathan Carapetis, with Founding Director Professor Fiona Stanley now Patron. Telethon Kids is independent and not-for-profit. The majority of funding comes from our success in winning national and international competitive research grants. We also receive significant philanthropic support from corporate Australia and the community.


Contact details:


Dolly’s Dream:
Sally Sweeney, Head of Engagement
0414 690 935 or sally.sweeney@dollysdream.org.au


Telethon Kids Institute:
Tamara Hunter, Senior Communications Officer
08 6319 1644  |  0459 859 126 or tamara.hunter@telethonkids.org.au

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