Tuesday, 26 July 2016 12:03

eSafety measures to protect children online take hold


Australia’s new Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner received nearly 200 serious cyberbullying complaints, conducted more than thousands of investigations into online child sexual abuse content and educated more than 59,000 students across Australia through virtual classrooms in its first 12 months of operation.

The Office was established in July 2015 following a commitment by the Coalition government to address an issue of major concern for Australian children, parents and schools, with research conducted by the government finding that over a 12-month period as many as one in five Australian children aged eight to seventeen had experienced cyberbullying.

Statistics for the first year released by the Minister for Communications, Mitch Fifield, show the Office:

•    Educated more than 59,000 students across Australia through virtual classrooms – video presentations delivered online by the Office’s eSafety trainers.

•    Delivered face-to-face presentations to more than 71,000 Australians.

•    Received 186 serious cyberbullying complaints, most commonly relating to girls (71%) and predominantly involving harmful comments, name-calling and the posting of offensive or upsetting images/videos.

•    Conducted more than 7400 investigations into online child sexual abuse content, and

•    Received more than 2.9 million page views on its website.

Following its establishment the Office established an online cyber-bullying complaints system under which the Commissioner has worked with large social media services to remove harmful cyber-bullying material targeted at children.

The Office has also worked closely with students, parents and teachers to teach children how to act responsibly online and to encourage safe, positive online experiences, and has also developed a wide range of resources to assist educators and parents, and developed advice and education materials on how to best respond to cyber-bullying.

Resources for parents and educators, as well as an online system to report cyber-bullying, illegal or offensive material, are available at the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner’s website.

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Peter Dinham

Peter Dinham - retired in 2020. He is a veteran journalist and corporate communications consultant. He has worked as a journalist in all forms of media – newspapers/magazines, radio, television, press agency and now, online – including with the Canberra Times, The Examiner (Tasmania), the ABC and AAP-Reuters. As a freelance journalist he also had articles published in Australian and overseas magazines. He worked in the corporate communications/public relations sector, in-house with an airline, and as a senior executive in Australia of the world’s largest communications consultancy, Burson-Marsteller. He also ran his own communications consultancy and was a co-founder in Australia of the global photographic agency, the Image Bank (now Getty Images).

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