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Responsibility

The power to act positively

Take responsibility for the way you present yourself online. That means knowing your rights and what is expected of you, staying within the law, thinking about the impact of your online actions and standing up for others.

Audio

This video is a dramatic scenario used to encourage taking responsibility for online behaviour. It features three teenage males and a teenage female, all played by actors. The female and one male are standing together talking at night in a skateboard park.

They overhear two males arguing.

The female pulls out her phone and starts to film the argument which turns physical.

The two males push and shove one another. One male knocks the hat off the other’s head. They fight and wrestle each other to the ground, continuing to throw punches.

The female continues to film the fight with her phone and smiles with enjoyment. The male standing with her looks concerned.

The female shows the male her phone screen recording the men fighting.

The male looks over from the phone to the two other males. He drops his skateboard and rushes over to break up the fight.

He steps in and stops the fight.Text appears “I am responsible.”

Logo shows the Australian coat of arms above the words Australian Government, and the eSafety Commissioner with the web address esafety.gov.au

The power to act positively

There’s a lot that goes into being responsible online.

'Be responsible for your own profile …' (Ash, 16)

  • How do I help someone, and keep myself safe at the same time?
  • If I was in this situation, how would I like someone to help me?
  • Can I report it to someone?
  • What information do I have?
  • Who else can help?
  • What is the right thing to do?

U can … use the internet in a way that doesn’t harm others.

Before you post material online think of its effect on other peoples’ feelings, reputation or their future.

U can … challenge ideas if it is safe to do so.

Some dangerous ideas are shared online. By highlighting their errors or negativities and providing a positive perspective you can help combat their spread. But you need to do this carefully, so you can keep yourself safe, too.

If you come across dangerous ideas and it’s not safe to challenge them, you can report them. Ignoring these ideas makes you a ‘bystander’ and allows dangerous ideas to grow unchecked (what you ignore you condone).

Sometimes people who share dangerous ideas also really need professional help/support — reporting can help them get the support they need. Ask yourself: ‘Who can support me to figure out what to do next?’ ‘Who is best to handle this?’

U can … speak up.

You can act to ensure the safety of yourself and others by reporting material or actions. If something feels wrong in your gut, it usually is. It’s important to speak up or take action if you think something is wrong.

U can … know how to block users and report issues like cyberbullying or illegal internet content.

If someone sends you a link to material or you see something online you think might be illegal, report it here. If you see someone cyberbullying another young person, take action.

U can … assume that nothing you share online is private.

You don’t know what your friend’s friend will do with anything you post online. Everything can be copied and shared. Protect your privacy by thinking about what you share, and using privacy settings on your social media profiles. Remember that your online reputation can also impact your chances with future employers and academic institutions.

U can … be aware of your emotions before you post online.

When you’re emotional you can say and do things that you’ll regret later. Sarcasm can come across really negatively, and aggressive language can escalate quickly. Think before you post—or better yet, sleep on it!

U can … take control of your online presence.

You can play an active part in shaping your online presence by managing what comes up about you in search engines or social media. Search your own name and check your social media feeds to see what comes up. If there is content about you that you don’t like, report it, take it down, or post something positive to show another side of yourself.

U can … be aware of the impact that technology has on your health, environment, and society.

You should balance your screen time with other activities and consider the impacts of what you do online. Make time for doing fun and enjoyable things with friends and family offline too!

U can … understand the legal consequences of your actions and the actions of others online.

You are legally responsible for your online behaviour. Things like stealing money or identity, sharing nude images of other young people, damaging other people’s work, illegally downloading music or movies, creating malware and spam can all have serious legal consequences. Educate yourself through sites like lawstuff.org.au if you are unsure about the facts.

U can … keep evidence.

This can be useful for tracking down people doing the wrong thing, reporting issues, or getting things removed from online platforms.

U can … be the change for a better internet.

Your online behaviour says a lot about who you are as a person. Make it positive and use it for good. Focus on creating a positive online reputation for yourself through things like creating online blogs, promoting something you are good at, or teaching new things to people.

Some expert advice

  • If you are getting harassed or trolled, block and report the user to either the website administrator or social media provider. Find out how in our eSafety Guide. And talk to a trusted adult if you need help.
  • If you think you might have done something wrong and you are not sure what to do, you can seek advice from Youth Law Australia.
  • If someone sends you a link to material or you see something online you think might be illegal, you may be able to report it. If you see someone cyberbullying another young person, take action.
  • If someone seems really down or you are concerned about their behaviour, you don’t have to manage it yourself. Encourage them to talk to a parent, trusted adult or Kids Helpline. You can report other users of games, apps and social networking sites if they are harassing people or being aggressive. Info can be found in our eSafety Guide.
  • If you are feeling upset or worried, or just need to talk to someone, Kids Helpline (for ages 5 to 25 years) is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Want to hear a story?

‘…So I follow this girl on Instagram and she has a band fan account. Everyone in the band’s fandom know her because of how much followers she has and all that jazz. So one day she posted a photo of herself. Her caption was of how she is happy and comfortable in her own skin, and how she thinks she is beautiful.

‘But there was this one Instagram account that kept telling her that she is ugly and not beautiful. She has very supportive followers so they kept telling her that none of what that person told her is true. So she believed them until that same person kept doing that. It started to actually make her believe that it's true.

‘I got really irritated and called out that person who was making her feel bad about herself. I wrote a long ass post about saying how rude and mean it is to say those things about people and how no one should get treated like that.

‘So the week later the person who was bullying the girl got reported and Instagram took their account down. So now she doesn't have to deal with those types of people again.

‘Sure there might be some people like that who did the same thing to her but it's not that bad. The girl who owns the fan account now has learned to ignore the haters…’

Resources for teachers

This page is part of the Young and eSafe classroom resource.

For lesson plans and other information go to Young and eSafe: about this resource