Youth engagement and online safety

Young people in Australia have clear aspirations and views about the internet and online safety.

This research highlights their recommendations and vision for the future. It outlines their expectations of eSafety and how we should engage with them about online issues.

The findings will be used to guide the development of eSafety's online strategy and resources for young people.

The research was led by the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University. The Centre used participatory co-research and design methods to explore young people’s opinions about online safety. Based on this work, a Youth aspirational statement was developed.

The statement was finalised by the eSafety Youth Council, which was established to advise eSafety about ongoing youth engagement, policies and program development.

Summary of findings

Key concerns

Young people are calling for:  

  • more online safety education, tools and resources that directly address the key issues they face online
  • eSafety to work closely with young people on an ongoing basis to identify and respond to new and emerging concerns.


The participants said they want more support when they are dealing with online issues, including: 

  • clear guidelines about who to approach for help when they are dealing with online safety harms, and when to ask for support  
  • targeted resources for parents, teachers, and other trusted adults so they can provide information to young people dealing with safety threats and support them without judgement
  • more information about support services, how they can assist in resolving online safety issues, and which services are confidential and anonymous. 


Young people want:   

  • online safety messaging that addresses their concerns, provides them with information and avenues of redress, and empowers them as responsible and trusted internet users 
  • involvement in the development of online safety messaging, wherever possible.  

Youth engagement

Young people want to be more involved with decision making and are seeking: 

  • a commitment to youth engagement from eSafety and opportunity to provide input into the establishment of processes and systems for ongoing engagement and evaluation  
  • youth-facing organisations to get involved and guide eSafety's strategy to ensure that online education, tools, and resources reach them.

Youth aspirational statement