Young people with disability aged 12 to 18 years, and their support networks Australia-wide will be able to access free online training videos specifically developed to promote safe behaviour and positive online experiences, thanks to grant funding by the eSafety Commissioner to help deliver online safety education to young people.
This innovative project is one of 23 supported so far under the three-year $9 million Online Safety Grants Program, administered by the eSafety Commissioner with funding from the Australian Government.
In 2020, eight non-government organisations (NGOs) shared $2.25 million in funding in the first round of the program, while $4.5 million has now been awarded to 15 organisations in round two.
Interaction Disability Services CEO Brett Thompson welcomed the grant. “We are thrilled to be part of the Online Safety Grants Program. As so much of our daily lives are carried out online, it is vital that vulnerable members of our community are protected from potential dangers of the internet. To be developed in conjunction with ySafe, these training programs will be free and accessible to young people with disability, and will address important issues such as online exploitation, cyber bullying and online abuse. Additional training modules will provide parents and carers with resources and tools to support safe online behaviour.”
eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said community organisations have a deep understanding of the diverse communities they work with and are often well placed to develop tailored online safety education programs to reach their audiences effectively.
“These grant projects aim to give young people the skills to recognise and deal with staying safe in the online world – teaching them what positive, healthy online interactions look like,” Ms Inman Grant said.
“Our aim is to empower young people to speak up about online abuse and harassment. Youth consultation and co-design is one of the key objectives of the grant program and an element in many of the projects.”
Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, the Hon. Paul Fletcher MP, said the internet had become part of daily life, so it was vital that young people learnt early on how to keep themselves safe from potential online harm.
“Staying safe online is a lot like staying safe in the real world. It’s important for children and young people to identify possible dangers early in life and learn how to seek help when confronted by an online safety issue,” Minister Fletcher said.
“The projects the Government is supporting are innovative and tackle a range of potential pitfalls a young person could come across online.”
Ms Inman Grant reminded NGOs that round three of the Online Safety Grants Program will be open next year to share in $2.25 million in support to get projects up and running.
Grants of between $80,000 and $1 million are available to develop services, resources and products that improve the online safety of Australian children, especially for at-risk audiences.
“I encourage NGOs with skills and capabilities in online safety to apply. For more information, go to www.esafety.gov.au,” Ms Inman Grant said.