A new cyber safety program will teach Australian middle-school students about cyberbullying, keeping passwords private and the dangers of posting embarrassing photos and videos online.
Developed by Life Education and McAfee, the module is aimed at students in years 3 and 4 and will be delivered in 3500 schools across the country from next month.
"We've taught our kids, generation after generation, about how to be streetwise and about stranger danger," Prime Minister Julia Gillard said at the Yates Primary School in Dundas Valley on Wednesday morning. "We now have to teach our kids about new dangers."
Ms Gillard said social media activity, particularly trolling, was a major concern.
"Trolling and bullying happens to children and adults," she said. "We can all imagine what it feels like to be humiliated in a classroom ... many people are living with the feeling of humiliation in front of tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of people, because of the way these social media environments work."
The bCyberwise program will travel around the country in the form of a Healthy Harold van, reaching some 600,000 students.
Ms Gillard also announced new guidelines are being issued to "the giants of social media", such as Facebook and Twitter.
Included will be protocols that set out clear information about the online environment and what is acceptable online.
Also established at each social media company will be a "point of contact for the government".
Ms Gillard suggested Twitter was the only social media company to have not accepted the government's new guidelines.
"We need to get Twitter to take heed and embrace the guidelines," she said.
The Prime Minister also said an app will be available for people to refer to when they are unsure how to behave or react to a situation online.
In a promotional video, one of the program's ambassadors, Ita Buttrose, emphasised the role of parents in ensuring children used the internet safely.
According to an online survey by McAfee, more than two-thirds of students admitted their parents didn't know what they did online.
Andrew Littleproud, president of McAfee's Asia-Pacific region, said the focus was on preventive measures.
"Online risks are growing every day," he said. "We need to help prepare students to tackle those risks every day."
Ms Gillard said she was also concerned about the recent spate of shooting in Sydney.
She called on all levels of government to "do everything that can be done to address this violence".
Federal Minister for Home Affairs Jason Kerr has been asked to research options to address the violence and "to explore the limits of the federal government's legal and constitutional responsibilities in this area".
The story Troll alert: 600,000 kids to learn about cyber safety first appeared on The Sydney Morning Herald.