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.

Negative online experiences

Young people — 8 to 17 years

The nasty stuff

The most common negative online experiences reported by young people:

  • 33% unwanted contact/content
  • 21% social exclusion 
  • 21% threats and abuse
  • 18% damage to reputation
  • 14% fraud and viruses
  • 8% lack of consent

The highest ranking negative impacts 

  • 36% did not feel good about themselves
  • 35% felt emotions like anger, sadness, fear, helplessness 
  • 24% felt left out/losing friends 

But it’s not all bad news! 

65% were able to interpret what had happened to them in a positive way. 

The top three positive responses:

  • 40% became more aware of online risks 
  • 33% became more aware of their real friends 
  • 23% learnt to use the internet in a more balanced way

Managing a negative experience

Actions taken to get through the negative online experience:

  • 24% sought help from formal networks
  • 51% engaged in self-help strategies
  • 71% sought help from informal networks

Young bystanders – witnessing negative online behaviours

  • 92% of bystanders chose to do something!
  • 60% talked about it with their own support networks

When it came to providing material support to others:

  • 16% sought help from formal networks
  • 50% provided direct advice to the victim
  • 15% other actions

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