Safer Internet Day 2020: Starting the chat about online safety

The safety of children online will be front-and-centre today as millions of Australians participate in activities to mark Safer Internet Day.

“Parents, carers, educators, and the general public are increasingly concerned about the online safety of children — including very young children — but feel unsure about how to tackle these important issues head on,” says eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant.

“Today is a great opportunity to ‘start the chat’ about online safety with the children in your care. To help, we have advice for parents and resources for teachers at esafety.gov.au/sid, as well as providing reporting services to help remove abusive, harmful and illegal content.”  

Safer Internet Day is an international initiative celebrated in more than 150 countries. Australia is first off the global ranks and this year’s effort will be launched, at an event attended by Ministers, MPs, charities and industry representatives. This year’s program has also attracted more than 1000 Safer Internet day “Champions”.

At the Parliament House event, eSafety will launch a new booklet, Online safety for under 5s, which provides parents and carers with critical advice on how to introduce young children to the connected world so that they can thrive online and the risks are mitigated. The booklet forms a key part of eSafety’s Early Years program, which was developed under the Commonwealth Government’s $17 million Keeping Children Safe Online package, announced in December 2018.

Minister for Communications, Cyber Safety and the Arts, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, said, “Safer Internet Day is a globally significant moment to reflect on evolving community expectations for online safety and highlight practical steps people can take for protect themselves and their families.

“Ninety-four per cent of Australian parents and carers say their child’s online safety is important so it’s critical they start talking with their children about the skills and knowledge they need to stay safe online.

“I commend all the organisations involved in Safer Internet Day. In particular, I acknowledge the influential role the eSafety Commissioner is playing in keeping the pressure on technology companies to integrate user safety into the design, development and deployment of their products and services.”

Thousands of school students across Australia are expected to participate in Safer Internet Day presentations through eSafety’s Virtual Classrooms, delivered via the classroom. And to help keep parents on the front foot with online safety trends and management strategies, eSafety is also hosting free webinars for parents and carers in multiple time-slots.

Origin Energy, NextDoor, LinkedIn, Westpac, Woolworths, LEGO, Australia Post, and TAL are among hundreds of organisations supporting this year’s Safer Internet Day program and encouraging parents to start the chat with their children about online safety.
Australians can find ways to get involved in Safer Internet Day at esafety.gov.au/sid.

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