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Living with disability

eSafety recognises that many individuals living with disability have safe, enjoyable and positive online experience most of the time, but they also face risks.

In general terms, people with disability experience a ‘digital divide’, meaning they can miss out on features and benefits that other Australians access online. People with disability also experience higher levels of online abuse.

eSafety undertakes research, consultation and community engagement to ensure we support people with disability to manage online risks in ways that recognise their diverse needs, strengths and experiences.

We continuously work to improve our programs and the accessibility of our resources.

On this page:

Serious online abuse

Our research shows that some individuals and communities are more at-risk of being targeted online, and at-risk of serious harm, due to a range of intersectional factors. These factors include race, religion, cultural background, gender, sexual orientation, disability, and mental health conditions. The risk can also increase because of situational vulnerabilities, such as being impacted by domestic and family violence. 

eSafety has legal powers to help protect people who live in Australia from the most serious online abuse and harmful content. This includes cyberbullying of children, adult cyber abuse and image-based abuse (sharing intimate images without the consent of the person shown). The harmful content can posted publicly or communicated through an online or electronic service or platform, including social media, games, chat apps, emails, messages (including SMS), forums and websites. 

Cyberbullying of children: If seriously harmful content is sent to a child or young person under 18, or shared about them, it is called 'cyberbullying'. The content can be seriously threatening, seriously intimidating, seriously harassing and/or seriously humiliating. If the online service or platform used to send or share the harmful content does not help, eSafety can investigate and have the content removed. Read our advice about how to deal with cyberbullying.

Adult cyber abuse: If content sent to an adult or shared about them is menacing, harassing or offensive and also intended to seriously harm their physical or mental health, it is called 'adult cyber abuse'. If the online service or platform used to send or share the harmful content does not help, eSafety can investigate and have the content removed. Read our advice about how to deal with adult cyber abuse

Image-based abuse: If someone shares, or threatens to share, an intimate image or video without the consent of the person shown, it is called 'image-based abuse'. This includes images and videos that show someone without attire of religious or cultural significance that they would normally wear in public (such as a niqab or turban). Image-based abuse should be reported to eSafety immediately, so we can have the harmful content removed. Read our advice about how to deal with image-based abuse.

Illegal and restricted online content

Illegal and restricted online content is the worst type of harmful online material. It shows or encourages violent crimes including child sexual abuse, terrorist acts, murder, attempted murder, rape, torture, violent kidnapping and suicide. Illegal and restricted online content should be reported to eSafety immediately, so we can have it removed. Read our advice about how to deal with illegal and restricted content.

Latest research

Young people with disability using the internet

The internet is a crucial resource for young people with disability with a range of social benefits and interactive play experiences. However, young people with disability have also been found to be more vulnerable to online harms.

Read more

Evaluation of the disability workforce and frontline worker program

Research was conducted with program participants to evaluate the impact of the program, based on awareness of technology facilitated abuse, evidence of learning and behaviour change.

Read more

Technology-facilitated abuse of women with intellectual or cognitive disability

Tactics used for technology-facilitated abuse of women with intellectual or cognitive disability are like those faced by all women, but there are some unique differences.

Read more

Growing up with good online safety habits

Sugar glider possums Swoosh and Glide are developing positive habits with technology as they grow – just like all our youngest Australians!

Use the Swoosh and Glide picture book and song to encourage young children to ask for help when they are using digital devices, to keep them safer online.

The resources include read-along and sing-along videos with Auslan.

Audio

Hi, I'm Jimmy Rees and today we're reading Swoosh, Glide and Rule Number 5 from the eSafety Commissioner.

[Jimmy reads]

'They will be here soon,' said the sugar glider mum, as twins Swoosh and Glide waited in their old river gum.

'Coooeee, sleepover time!' yelled their uncle in a flash, as he landed with their cousins River, Reed and Ash.

After they had all hugged and said a warm 'hello', they played Statues and Chasey and other games you may know.

They whispered and giggled as they played Hide-and-Seek, while Swoosh counted numbers and tried not to peek.

What's the time, Mr Wolf? was the next game to play. Cousin Ash called 'Dinner time' and they all ran away.

The 'big wolf' made Swoosh feel a bit funny inside. This feeling made Swoosh want to run away and hide.

It was time for a rest when a sight met their eyes. Grandma and Grandpa were calling out 'SURPRISE!'

They'd called on their new tablet straight to the hollow. Glide asked them if they had special rules to follow.

The grandparents asked, 'What rules do you mean?'

1. 'Be kind, take turns!'

2. 'At dinner time no screen!'

3. 'Use it only in shared spaces!' Glide proudly said.

4. 'Ask before you use it!'

and 5. 'No taking screens to bed!'

Mum finished stirring and called 'Dinner will be soon. 'Say goodbye. Time to go. We'll chat tomorrow afternoon.

'Put the tablet away, I need some help please. We need cups and saucers for our sweet leaf teas.'

While the others played possum games and Mum stirred the soup, Swoosh took the tablet and hid from the group.

A silly video made Swoosh laugh so hard, it was lots of fun. Swoosh clicked on another, and another, and then another one.

But the last one was not nice or fun anymore. Swoosh dropped the tablet and curled up on the floor.

Glide ran to help. 'What can we do?' they said to each other. 'Put it away?' 'Turn it off?' They decided to ask their mother.

Swoosh soon told her, 'Something not nice was on the screen. It made me feel funny in my tummy, like when Mr Wolf screamed.'

Mum held their little hands and told them as she knelt, that they did the right thing to come to her for help.

Uncle declared, 'If something's not right while you're on a device, go quickly to your grown-up and ask for advice.'

He pressed on a button and a happy tune came on. 'Here's something that I wrote called My Family Rules song.'

Then Uncle saw the time and waved a fond goodbye. 'Got to go. Sun's up soon, so I really must fly.'

He jumped off that old river gum's branch with an almighty leap, looping to his homely hollow for a good day's sleep.

The children sat down, the table was cleared, a last game of Snap, all sugar gliders cheered.

'The sun's coming up,' said Mum with a yawn. 'It's time for bed, it's getting close to dawn.'

In bed Mum gave everyone a warm kiss goodnight and said, 'Night, night, sleep tight don't let the bed bugs bite.'

And in the wink of an eye the three cousins and twins were sound asleep and dreaming of their favourite things.

With the little ones asleep before early morning's glow, Mum set off to bed on her tippy tiptoes.

But guess what happened as she watched Bush News Live? Swoosh, shuffled in and called, 'MUM! Rule Number 5!?'

And that's the end of the story. What did you think?

Do you have family rules at home?

Remember to always ask for help when you're online, just like Swoosh and Glide.

Well that was fun. I'm Jimmy Rees. Goodbye.

Swoosh and Glide story time video - Auslan

An Auslan interpreter brings to life the story of Swoosh, Glide and Rule Number 5.
Audio

[Singing]

I wanna be safe, safe, safe,

When I go online, line, line

In every place, place, place

And all of the time, time, time

If I need, I can ask for help

And then I'll be fine 

'Cause I like to be safe, safe, safe

All of the time online

Be safe, be kind

That's what I do when I'm online

If something looks strange or scary

I can ask for help

When we play online, we can have a good time

If we use our voices and make good choices

The internet can be so much fun

With lots of things for everyone

Well I wanna be safe, safe, safe

When I go online, line, line

In every place, place, place

And all of the time, time, time

If I need, I can ask for help

And then I'll be fine

'Cause I like to be safe, safe, safe

All of the time online

Yes, I like to be safe, safe, safe

All of the time

My Family Rules music video - Auslan

Enjoy Lah-Lah's performance of My Family Rules, with the help of an Auslan interpreter.

 

 

More information

'How to' videos

  • Our 'How to' videos have captions and transcripts. These were created to help people experiencing domestic and family violence, but they can be used by anyone. They cover a range of topics including privacy settings, two-factor authentication, creating strong passwords, safe browsing and reporting abuse. 

Online courses in digital basics

  • The Be Connected resources have been created for older Australians with limited digital skills, but they can be used by anyone. The short online courses cover topics such as getting to know your device, getting started online, social media apps, and buying and selling online. All of them include online safety advice. 

Interactive resources

  • Your online journey is an app developed for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples with low digital literacy skills. It's a free, easy-to-use app with step-by-step instructions and videos to help people get online and stay safe. It will work on any smartphone or tablet, including iPhones and iPads, and once it's downloaded it can be used without an online connection or data. It comes with a Trainers Guide.
  • Technology checkup is a quiz that helps users check who has access to their online information.
  • Tech tour helps users find way to protect themselves while using digital technologies at home and elsewhere.

Information for kids and young people

  • The Kids section of our website has colourful characters and basic safety messaging. Select Be an eSafe kid for very low literacy, or I want help with for mid-Primary school literacy level. 
  • The Young People section of our website has information on a variety of more advanced topics such as fake news and online dating. These pages have a lot of text but the information is easier to understand than our pages for adults. 

Information for parents and carers

Training for professionals

Teaching resources

eSafety has many classroom resources designed for use by teachers of primary and secondary school students. These can be adapted for people with intellectual or cognitive disability.

  • Young and esafe: A resource with videos telling stories about young adults and their online experiences, plus lesson plans that cover themes of respect, responsibility, critical thinking or reasoning, and resilience. The video topics cover bullying, how to question fake news and standing up for others. They are good for starting conversations about online safety.
  • #GameOn: A series of five short videos that follow the online experiences of a group of lower secondary students who find themselves in difficult situations. These help viewers to understand the consequences of making poor decisions online.
  • Hector's World: A series of animated videos with fun and engaging characters who are learning how to stay safe online.
  • Cybersmart Challenge: Three animated videos - Cybersmart Detectives, Cybersmart Hero and Cybersmart Forever.    
  • Be Deadly Online: An animated video and poster campaign about online issues, including messaging about bullying, reputational damage and respect for others. The topics include sexting, filming and posting dumb stuff, and online arguments and fights. 'Why we made the Be Deadly Resources' is also a great video to watch.
  • Tagged: The first video tells the story of a group of high school friends who post a rumour about someone. This sparks a chain reaction of cyberbullying, sexting, filmed fights and police action. There are also follow up ‘reflection videos’.
  • Rewrite your StoryA series of eight videos covering different online issues. This is a great resource for starting conversations about people being mean, bullying, sexting and hurting each others' feelings.
  • Be Secure education suite: Five topic-based activities that can be explored separately or delivered as a whole unit. These explore critical thinking, device safety, protecting privacy, spending money online and getting help and support.
     

Last updated: 30/11/2023