Tips on how to stay safe online during the COVID-19 pandemic

COVID-19 Alert

Due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) it may take longer than usual to address all reports or enquiries made with our investigation teams.

Please continue to submit reports and we will review them as soon as possible.

If you are worried about your safety or are at risk of harm right now contact police immediately by calling Triple Zero (000).

If you need someone to talk to and are under 25, contact Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800).
For all other ages, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.

Connecting online

State of play — connecting and sharing online

Young people 8 to 17 years (kids 8 to 12 years, teens 13 to 17 years)

Talking to strangers

38% of young people used the internet to chat to someone they did not know:

  • 42% boys, 34% girls
  • 50% teens, 27% kids

Young people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds or those living with disability were more likely to connect with strangers online:

  • 44% CALD, 37% non CALD
  • 50% with disability, 37% no disability

Making friends

24% reported making friends with someone they first met online. 

Making friends online increased with age: 

  • 34% teens, 14% kids

Young people from culturally and linguistically diverse (CALD) backgrounds and those living with disability have a preference for making friends online:

  • 31% CALD, 22% non CALD
  • 35% with disability, 23% no disability

Sharing information

Information they share with people they only know online:

  • 19% general information
  • 14% personal information
  • 10% fake information

17% shared passwords to their emails and social media accounts.

People they shared with:

  • 65% parents
  • 37% friend
  • 21% siblings
  • 13% boy/girlfriend
  • 5% teacher 
  • 2% other

Who they share with varies depending on their age. For example, sharing with:

  • parents: 88% kids, 44% teens
  • friend: 21% kids, 52% teens
  • boy/girlfriend: 5% kids, 22% teens

Source: Youth and digital dangers, Office of the eSafety Commissioner, 3 May 2018

Data drawn from eSafety’s Youth Digital Participation Survey, using a random sample of 3,017 young people in Australia aged 8 to 17 years in the 12 months to June 2017 (kids 8 to 12 years, teens 13 to 17 years)

More findings from this research