New year, new devices: Be Connected and make online safety a priority this year

Giving family members tech gifts like home assistants and smart phones may be very welcome and well intentioned, but these electronic devices can also be overwhelming and risky for older Australians if not set up securely. 

This New Year, the eSafety Commissioner is encouraging everyone to support older relatives and friends by taking the time to check their device settings and reinforce the importance of online safety, with help from Be Connected

“Technology and electronic devices can help open up a wide and wonderful new world for older Australians – from facilitating video calls and connection on social media, to introducing new hobbies like listening to podcasts or playing online games,” eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said. 

“Access to services and social connection through digital technology and the internet is empowering. However, we know that it can also be overwhelming to an older person who may not feel confident online and doesn’t know what to look for when setting up a new device or signing up for a digital service. 

“Even those of us who use technology on a daily basis can find it challenging to create strong passwords and review privacy settings across our devices and accounts. For those older Australians who haven’t had as much exposure to the online world, this can be an even more intimidating process full of confusing tech jargon. 

“Make it your New Year’s resolution to improve the digital skills of those around you by taking time to share the importance of online safety.” 

The Be Connected initiative provides a wide range of self-paced courses to help improve online safety and security settings, including how to spot scams and create strong passwords, an introduction to smart homes, and resources on getting started with laptops, desktops, tablets and mobile phones. 

The courses include easy-to-follow instructions with short videos and summary sheets to download and use as helpful reference tools. 

Keep these online safety tips front of mind to start 2023 securely, by making the most of the security features available on devices and building good habits to keep you and your loved ones safe online:

  • Make your passwords strong and unique, and set up multi-factor authentication on accounts.
  • Don’t share more information than you need to: when signing up for online services or registering an account, remember that you can choose to skip fields marked as optional.
  • Adjust your privacy settings on social media platforms to help protect your personal information and be mindful about how much information is in the photos or videos you share.
  • Be aware of scams: there are many online, email and phone scams out there, so it’s important to stay vigilant. Remember, if something looks too good to be true, it probably is. 

“No matter our age or digital skill level, we all need to be careful about the amount of personal information we disclose online, especially as technology evolves and new devices have the potential to collect extensive location and biometric information including fingerprint logins,” Ms Inman Grant said. 

“In connecting our loved ones through new devices and online services, we need to make sure devices and accounts are set up securely, so we don’t unintentionally open them up to scams and other vulnerabilities.
“Be Connected provides everything you need to learn on how to set up devices, prioritise secure passwords and enjoy what the online world has to offer.” 

Find a wide range of Be Connected resources to improve your online skills, including resources for families, friends, peers and local community organisations, to help older Australians learn about the benefits of being online:

About Be Connected

Be Connected is an Australian Government initiative implemented in partnership by the Department of Social Services, the eSafety Commissioner and Good Things Foundation Australia, committed to improving the online confidence, skills and safety of older Australians. 

For more information or to request an interview, please contact: