Play nice, stay safe: New resources to support LGBTIQ+ community online
The eSafety Commissioner has launched new resources to help the LGBTIQ+ community safely navigate the online world, featuring guidance on a range of issues, from dealing with trolls to meeting people online.
LGBTIQ+ people are more than twice as likely to experience online hate speech than other Australians, with 30 per cent targeted compared to 14 per cent of the general population, according to eSafety research.
eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said the new LGBTIQ+ learning lounge resources and ‘Play nice, stay safe’ digital campaign provide advice about key topics like responding to online hate and how to have safer relationships online.
“Our research and reports of targeted harassment tell us that many LGBTIQ+ people will experience online abuse at some point in their lives,” she said.
“The internet is a vital source of information, support and connection. For the LGBTIQ+ community, the digital world can be a lifeline. But we also know that online spaces can be exclusionary and unsafe.
“Targeted online hate and harassment directed at LGBTIQ+ people can be pervasive, exacerbating everyday intolerance and discrimination – we need to work together to address it in the real world, and online. Importantly, these new resources have been informed by research and co-designed with the LGBTIQ+ community.
“Understanding how to protect yourself online can help to reduce the incidence and impact of abuse, and this guidance equips individuals with the right tools to respond while encouraging us all to play nice and stay safe online. We couldn’t have done this without the active engagement of the community.”
The LGBTIQ+ learning lounge resources were co-designed with LGBTIQ+ community members from diverse genders and backgrounds, and organisations across Australia including ACON, LGBTIQ+ Health Australia, Thorne Harbour Health and Twenty10.
They are informed by community consultation, feedback from existing programs and in-depth research. This includes eSafety’s Protecting LGBTIQ+ voices online report which highlights how people who identify as LGBTIQ+ are affected by adult cyber abuse and online lateral abuse (abuse between members within a community).
Teddy Cook, Acting Director, Community Health & Regional Services at ACON said through this online toolkit of resources, LGBTIQ+ people will be able to access information relevant to the community, and informed by the community.
“The resources are shaped by real experiences of our LGBTIQ+ community. By understanding the issues our community faces online, these resources provide meaningful advice in a way that will connect to the community in a greater, more engaged way,” he said.
“No matter someone’s sexuality, identity or experiences, each of us deserves to be safe from online harm.”
The LGBTIQ+ learning lounge covers 3 main topics – meeting online, dealing with online abuse and building resilience. Each topic houses multiple sections with content relevant to the community, providing an easy and accessible way for individuals to find the support they need.
Acting CEO of LGBTIQ+ Health Australia Zed Tintor said the resources are an important step in improving the mental health and wellbeing of LGBTIQ+ people and communities online.
“We know that LGBTIQ+ people experience disproportionate rates of poor mental health,” they said.
“By placing lived experience of the LGBTIQ+ community at the centre of developing these resources, we are empowering individuals to explore the online world safety and letting them know what they can do when things take a negative turn.”
“This is a positive and proactive step in identifying the challenges LGBTIQ+ people face online and investing in resources to help protect them.”
Ms Inman Grant said eSafety’s mission is to help all Australians have safer, more positive experiences online.
“Protecting diverse voices online and making it harder to suppress these voices is a key part of this work, and these new resources will provide meaningful support and encourage behavioural change,” she said.
“We can also help people who are experiencing serious online abuse by providing a safety net, investigating reports and working to get harmful content taken down.”
The new adult cyber abuse removal powers under the Online Safety Act 2021 enable eSafety to consider a range of factors in investigating reports of online abuse, including if it is targeting an individual based on their sexuality or gender.
Anyone experiencing online abuse should report it to the platform; if the content isn’t removed you can report it to esafety.gov.au/report.
Find out how to play nice and stay safe online by exploring a range of topics designed for the LGBTIQ+ community at www.esafety.gov.au/lgbtiq/learning-lounge.