Optus helps today's youth be responsible and savvy digital citizens

7 April 2016

The second in our interview series with a 2015 Australian ANZIA (Internet award) winner - under the Security & Online Safety category - is with Helen Maisano, Associate Director Corporate Social Responsibility at Optus. The project Optus was acknowledged for was their Digital Thumbprint Program.

Helen, tell us a bit about the Digital Thumbprint Program.

Digital Thumbprint is a free program offered to secondary schools in NSW, Victoria and Queensland and is aimed at helping today’s youth be responsible and savvy digital citizens.  The digital world is expanding at such a rapid rate with millions of users accessing social media across the globe so it’s important that our youth understand the negative impacts that will help keep them safe online but also encourage them to have a positive online presence. 

Digital Thumbprint delivers 3 workshops for high school students in a fun and interactive way.  Digital Insight provides activities for students to understand T&C’s, passwords, Digital Impact tackles behaviour online and risks, and Digital Ambition is about equipping students with information on how they can get the best out of the internet while they are studying and for the future.

What does it mean for you to be recognised with this award?

It’s been fantastic recognition and a real honour to have received the Award.  We were thrilled at Optus because it has given us external recognition.  While we do get great feedback from teachers and students alike on the program, to be recognised by ANZIA just gave us that extra profile.

Since receiving the Award we also received provisional accreditation from the Australian Government’s e-safety commissioner which means more schools will be able to access the program and have it delivered to their school which means we are reaching more schools and young people.

What are your future plans for this project?

Optus sees it’s digital citizenship strategy as a key focus of what we do in the community so we will continue to ensure that we scale Digital Thumbprint so more young people have access, but we also plan to support our customers, parents and adults as the information is relevant for all generations to use. 

Where we can create apps, build collaborative partnerships and expand our initiatives so we are helping to create and empower responsible digital citizens in today’s digital world, we will do so.

We are also thrilled that Globe Telecom who is an Associate company as part of the Singtel Group, recently launched Digital Thumbprint in the Philippines.   Today’s youth, no matter where the geography, socio economic background or culture, can all benefit from Digital Thumbprint program so we were delighted to work with Globe and share our learnings so they could replicate and implement the program so that they can teach youth to understand the impact of their behaviour online and how to be safe and responsible for their online activities.

Would you recommend the Awards programme to others? If so, why?

Absolutely!  The awareness and recognition is terrific and you get to meet some really interesting people and organisations who are doing some amazing things in the digital world.