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How you can help to protect our children and young people

Cyber-bullying, image-based abuse, illegal and restricted online content are just some of the behaviours the eSafety Commissioner’s office deals with. I had the opportunity to hear the Commissioner, Julie Inman – Grant, speaking with Sydney privacy professionals about the work of her office, during Privacy Awareness Week on 1 May. 

eSafety applies the Online Safety Act 2021, and other legislation, to support a safe environment for children and all Australians online. The Online Safety Act enables eSafety to move quickly to hold big-tech to account and request that cyber-bullying content is removed from their platforms. 

The definition for cyber-bullying material is anything posted on a social media service, relevant electronic service or designated internet service which is intended to target an Australian child, and which has the effect of seriously humiliating, harassing, intimidating, or threatening the child.

In 2021 research by eSafety, 44% of Australian young people reported having a negative online experience in the past 6 months, and this included 15% who had received threats or abuse. Those numbers are way too high and, very sad, when you consider the misery caused.

So, what can you do to help protect our children and young people?

  1. Be aware of the signs of cyber-bullying; a child may not want to tell you about bullying for a range of reasons. Two signs are secretive behaviour regarding online activities, and/or upset after using the internet or a mobile phone. 
  2. Help by raising awareness of privacy online by talking about what information children or young people are posting/making available. They may not be aware of the way their personal information ie images, home address etc could be used online. 
  3. Report cyberbullying to eSafety
  4. Ensure your organisation’s child safe policies and/or procedures are up to date, or contact us for support

New Child Safe Standards were introduced in Victoria in July of 2022 and there are now 11 Standards, up from 7. 

In NSW Compliance and enforcement measures for Child Safe Standards commenced in February of 2023.

We can assist you to develop policies and procedures for child safety and to communicate child safety requirements to your staff. Call 1300 264 946 to discuss the ways we can help.