Young people’s vision for their online future

New research released today by the eSafety Commissioner has explored the online experiences of young Australians and told us how they want to be engaged in shaping the online world of the future.

The research, conducted for eSafety by the Young and Resilient Research Centre at Western Sydney University, will guide eSafety in shaping its engagement with young people, and inform online safety resources and programs for young people.

eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant, welcomed this timely research as work is being done to establish a new Online Safety Youth Advisory Council, announced by the Prime Minister on 15 December 2021.

“This research will be instructive for eSafety and others working with young people as it lays out ways to co-design and develop solutions to online safety challenges. It also tells us how young people want the advisory council to work, including recruitment of members, council activities and outputs,” Ms Inman Grant said.

“The online world is a fundamental part of young people’s lives. This research gives us important insights into young people’s online experiences, how we can work with them to co-design and best shape authentic messages about online harms and safety, and their vision for a safe and inclusive online world.

“What is clear from this youth engagement research is that young people want to be actively involved in finding solutions to making online life a safer place, and they had some candid views about how that might happen.

“Young people want non-judgmental guidance and information on how to access support services to make their online experiences safer and more fulfilling. They want the adults in their lives to have the necessary knowledge to help them when they need it.”

The Minister for Communications, the Hon Paul Fletcher MP, welcomed the research as an important contribution to eSafety’s national leadership in online safety and commended the work as being vital to the development of the new Online Safety Youth Advisory Council.

“Young people are enthusiastic users of social media, but they also confront particular risks in the online world. It is vital that their experiences and perspectives are understood and can inform the approach we are taking to making the internet safer for Australians,” Minister Fletcher said.

Ms Inman Grant said that since 2015 young people have been a priority audience for eSafety and young Australians currently have access to an extensive range of best-practice resources and information via the eSafety website that helps them navigate online safety concerns.

“These important insights will further place young people and their input at the forefront of co-design of new resources and programs that address their online issues. For this to be successful, we need to listen to their input – and young people deserve no less in terms of helping shape their online destinies” she said.

A full report is available here.

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