The boy who loves buses: A tale of online safety
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The boy who loves buses: A tale of online safety

Online safety education opportunities for educators in 2022

Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner, tells a tale of online safety about a boy named Ben, and highlights how to seek support and guidance regarding online safety of children.

Meet Ben*.

Ben is 13 and has a special interest in buses. He spends his lunchtimes alone calculating local bus routes on the school oval. This special interest is remarked on by fellow students and some of them have created Instagram accounts that reference his name and buses, such as @_BENloveshisstupidbuses. They post pictures of buses and add hashtags, such as #dontgetrunoverben #bensbuses and #iseeuonthebusBen.

Viewed from a distance and in isolation, these posts can seem relatively innocuous. But from the perspective of a 13-year-old boy who doesn’t know who’s creating and sharing this content, it was highly distressing.

Ben’s parents reported the posts to the social media platform but the posts didn’t violate their community standards. The school was made aware of the issue and suggested the parents make a report to the eSafety Commissioner.

At eSafety, we focus not only on the harm but on the individual context, circumstances and mental health, wellbeing and safety impact.


The eSafety Commissioner is the world’s first government regulator dedicated to keeping people safe online. We’re a team of educators, investigators, lawyers, policy and technology experts, digital specialists and other professionals who share one goal: a safer and more positive online experience for all Australians.


Our main goal is prevention. We want children and young people to have safe and positive experiences online. Through, we provide a range of tips and advice for children and young people on how to be informed, safe, online users.

In addition to prevention, we also have unique powers to protect and safeguard children and young people. This includes taking action against serious cyberbullying. When platforms fail to remove harmful content within 48 hours, you can then report to eSafety.

What do we mean by ‘serious cyberbullying content’? It means the content sent to the child or young person– or posted or shared about them – must be likely to harm their mental health, wellbeing and safety and is considered seriously threatening, intimidating, harassing or humiliating. From the outside, some cyberbullying incidents may seem harmless or an isolated incident. But it is the impact on the child or young person that our eSafety investigators assess. For Ben, the collective impact of this targeted content was deemed to be intimidating and humiliating, so we could advocate knowing the effect on Ben. In this instance, we were able to have the content removed using our powers under the Online Safety Act.


We are all operating in a complex online ecosystem, where keeping up with the latest opportunities and challenges can seem like a never-ending task. That’s why we have a comprehensive range of support, resources and professional learning opportunities available for educators, including the ‘Best Practice for Online Educations and the Toolkit for Schools’ to support a whole-school approach.

As a proactive and responsive organisation, our Education team is listening, collaborating and responding to emerging needs and issues. We are hosting free, live webinars for teachers and wellbeing leaders to enhance their ability to prevent, respond and report critical online incidents. Our newest webinar explores case studies, incident assessment tools and how to support both primary and secondary school students and their families.

Register for the free ‘Responding and reporting critical online incidents in school settings’ webinar: webinars 

For further information visit,

*Ben’s name and details of the complaint have been changed.

This article was originally published in Education Matters Magazine – to read the issue download it here.

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