Support for online safety
The Australian Government seeks to promote an online environment in which Australians have positive online interactions, and to put measures in place that address harmful online content and behaviours.
The eSafety Commissioner can facilitate removal of the following material:
- Cyberbullying material directed at an Australian child
- Image-based abuse
- Offensive and illegal content
The eSafety Commissioner can also notify content providers and hosting services that abhorrent violent material is available on their platforms, and can issue blocking notices in extreme scenarios where Australians are exposed to material that promotes, incites, or instructs in, terrorist acts or violent crimes.
The Commissioner also plays a leadership role in prevention, education, awareness, and targeted support for online safety. The Commissioner's website hosts relevant resources and information, including:
- the parents and carers portal, which offers tips and advice on helping children to have safe online experiences
- the online safety and wellbeing directory, a central hub of resources for people who require support after having a harmful online experience
In addition to ongoing operational support for the eSafety Commissioner, the Government has announced two key funding packages to support online safety.
Keeping Our Children Safe Online package
In December 2018 the Government announced a $17 million package to strengthen protections for Australian children navigating the online world.
The Keeping our Children Safe Online package includes:
- an information campaign to help parents and carers 'Start the Chat' about online safety and to raise awareness of the eSafety Office
- an Early Years Online Safety Program, which provides targeted training, support and resources to improve online safety for children under five years of age
- the establishment of an Online Safety Research Program
- the development of an Online Safety Charter to outline expectations between industry and Government on the shared responsibility of online safety.
Online Safety Grants Program
The Government is investing $10 million over four years in a new Online Safety Grants Program, which was announced in February 2019.
The program, which will be run by the eSafety Commissioner, will support non-government organisations (NGOs) to provide valuable education and training programs to help young people develop and maintain safe online habits.
Taskforce to combat terrorist and extreme violent material online
The tragic events that occurred in Christchurch on 15 March 2019 highlighted the capacity of terrorists to utilise social media and other online platforms to upload and spread footage of their horrendous crimes. Following these attacks, the Australian Government established a Taskforce to Combat Terrorist and Extreme Violent Material Online (the Taskforce). Comprising government and industry representatives, the objective of the Taskforce was to provide advice to Government on practical, tangible and effective measures and commitments to combat the upload and dissemination of terrorist and extreme violent material.
The Taskforce released a report in June 2019 which identifies potential actions and recommendations to Government and industry.
Other Australian Government assistance
In addition to the eSafety Commissioner, there are a number of Government initiatives that support Australians' online safety, through prevention, education and support.
In addition to eSafety Commissioner's classroom resources, school guidance and outreach initiatives, other Government departments and agencies play a role in creating capable, respectful and engaged digital citizens.
The Department of Education runs the Student Wellbeing Hub website—a space for educators, parents and students to build safe, inclusive and connected school communities that promote wellbeing and learning. The Student Wellbeing Hub includes information for students about online privacy, tips for respectful behaviour, and information about where to go for help when feeling unsafe.
The Australian Federal Police run the ThinkUKnow program. ThinkUKnow is a program featuring free in-school presentations, resources and information covering sexting, cyberbullying, online child exploitation, online privacy, and what to do when something goes wrong.
Mental health support
The Department of Health hosts Head to Health, an online portal for information, advice and digital mental health treatment options.
The Department of Home Affairs has policy responsibility for cyber security, which looks at safeguarding Australians' data and information networks.
The Australian Cyber Security Centre, part of the Australian Signals Directorate, has operational responsibility for cyber security.
- Australian Cyber Security Centre—to securely report cybercrime, and to access information about current cyber threats and information on how to protect you and your business online
- Stay Smart Online—to find out how to secure your computer, transact and interact safely online
The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission runs Scamwatch—which helps Australians to learn how to recognise, avoid and report scams.
Visit the eSafety Commissioner's website for more links to matters the eSafety Commissioner can't investigate, including:
- adult cyberbullying and harassment
- suspected paedophile activity