Nurturing net know-how gets more people safely online
Julie Inman Grant, Australia's eSafety Commissioner, writes on the importance of digital skills when it comes to staying safe online.
If there is one thing the pandemic has shown us, it is that we have well and truly entered a totally connected era. The internet has become an essential utility for us to work, learn, connect and be entertained. But what does that mean for family and friends who have not plucked up the courage to get online?
We know that those who are not as digitally skilled are most at risk. 72% of over 50s are concerned about the risk of being hacked online. Only 46% of parents surveyed by eSafety felt confident to deal with cyberbullying that their child might face. And serious cyber abuse disproportionally affects some communities more than others. If you are an Aboriginal or Torres Strait Islander or identify as LGBTQI+, you are twice as likely to be targeted with online harassment.
It is possible to be safer online, but it means having the right skills, knowledge and support. That is why Get Online Week is so important, because it motivates people to learn the skills they need and gain confidence to take the steps to be online – safely. It’s also why we’re proud to be partners with Good Things Foundation Australia and Department of Social Services in the Be Connected program. Be Connected provides these vital skills to older Australians.
As the world’s first online safety regulator, eSafety is committed to empowering all Australians to have safer, more positive experiences online. It does this by adopting the “three p’s” approach: prevention, protection and proactive change.
‘Prevention’ means giving people the right skills and knowledge to stop the harms from happening in the first place. If you explore the eSafety website, you’ll see a range of resources designed for a wide variety of communities and age groups.
‘Protection’ means eSafety supports Australians through its regulatory and reporting schemes, including being able to compel illegal or harmful content to be taken down.
eSafety has also been working with technology companies, encouraging them to embed user safety into their company cultures, investments and the technology they design. The result is eSafety’s world-first assessment tool called, Safety by Design, to enable tech companies to do just that. That’s the ‘proactive change’ component of the ‘three p’s’.
Get Online Week, from 18-24 October, is a great chance to remind us all to be adventurous and explore: explore something new and exciting online and explore everything eSafety can offer you at esafety.gov.au.
Written by Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner.
About Julie Inman Grant
Julie Inman Grant is Australia’s eSafety Commissioner. In this role, Julie leads the world’s first government regulatory agency committed to keeping its citizens safer online.