Educators commit to closer cooperation for online safety
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Educators commit to closer cooperation for online safety

$190 million investment for high speed internet at QLD states schools

Education authorities and peak bodies will join a new national council led by the eSafety Commissioner to fight the rising tide of online harms in school communities throughout Australia.

The National Online Safety Education Council will meet regularly to boost cooperation among educators, addressing a range of interconnected harms occurring in Australian classrooms, school yards and homes.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said the council would support a unified response to negative content and abuse online, creating a forum to share resources and information about what is working to prevent or manage harms.

“Complaints to eSafety have increased substantially across all our reporting schemes since the pandemic, including those affecting school-age children,” Ms Inman Grant said.

“Last financial year alone we saw a 65 per cent increase in cyberbullying reports and a 55 per cent increase in image-based abuse reports.

“Almost two-thirds of young people aged 14-17 have been exposed to harmful content online and schools play a pivotal role in helping them develop the digital skills they need to stay safe. They are also vital in dealing at the coal face with critical incidents.”

Among the key agenda items for the meeting will be discussion of the latest threat trends and challenges, and an update on eSafety’s progress toward developing an age verification roadmap for online pornography, canvassing both technical and educational approaches to preventing and reducing harm.

“The challenges schools face are not unique to any one system or region – they are increasingly common across Australia,” Ms Inman Grant said.

“We need to support all schools and ensure students, parents and teachers everywhere know how to report abuse and access resources through eSafety.”

The council includes authorities and peak bodies representing schools in all sectors, states and territories, along with eSafety and key national bodies.

“eSafety works closely with these organisations in a range of contexts and we’re looking forward to gathering their valued insight and expertise together around a single table,” Ms Inman Grant said.

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