Australian Government grants take online safety message to millions
A cyberbullying support bot and 3D cyber ninjas teaching self-defence in the metaverse are among the latest projects funded under the Australian Government’s $9 million Online Safety Grants Program.
The eSafety Commissioner has awarded nine grants totalling $2.25 million to universities and non-government organisations in the third round of the grants program, bringing the total number of projects funded to 32.
Data from eSafety shows reports about online harms continue to grow, with complaints about cyberbullying involving young people increasing 95 per cent in the first six months of 2022 compared to the same period last year.
The grants support the development of innovative programs and resources that improve children and young peoples’ awareness of online safety issues and how to reduce online harms.
The successful applicants for the third round of the Online Safety Grants Program are:
- Deakin University – CyberNinjas: Empowering our children to be cyber smart in the Metaverse
- Centacare Catholic Family Services – Power Up: Online
- K.I.D.S Foundation – Netys the trusted eSafety friend
- Scope (Aust) Ltd – Be Safe Online
- The Butterfly Foundation – Body kind online: Education resources
- Western Sydney Community Forum – Our safe community online
- Western Sydney University – Reconceptualising Digital Safety in Family Homes post Covid-19
- University of Tasmania – Chatbot-enabled cyber safety for adolescents
- Charles Sturt University – Protecting children from smartphone leakage of security sensitive information
Projects supported in round one of the grants program have reached around two million children and young people.
This number is expected to grow significantly when a further 15 projects funded in round two of the program are delivered in coming months. These include a youth-produced short film festival (REELise), interactive stories to educate children about online grooming (Daniel Morcombe Foundation), and online resources and forums for young carers (Little Dreamers).
For more information about the program, visit www.esafety.gov.au/about-us/what-we-do/our-programs/online-safety-grants-program
For online safety advice for all Australians, visit esafety.gov.au
Quotes attributable to the Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:
“Improving online safety in a rapidly changing online world requires strong leadership and advocacy at every level of society.
“The Albanese Government congratulates the successful applicants and welcomes their creative and innovative strategies to equip more children and young people with the skills to navigate the online world safely.
“The not-for-profit sector plays an important role in supporting government to address complex social issues, especially those that disproportionately affect the most vulnerable.
“These grants will help unlock each recipient’s unique expertise to create new channels and content addressing specific issues and age groups, helping us to reach more Australians with vital online safety education.”
Quotes attributable to eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant:
“We need to keep developing fresh ways to reach and educate Australians if we’re to keep pace with technology, especially as we hurtle towards the metaverse and Web 3.0.
“Working with partners means more voices, more insights and more ways to inspire a generation of young people to scroll with safety online.
“The successful applicants all demonstrated an ability to dream big when it came to engaging and empowering children and young people.
“I’m excited to be welcoming nine new partners in online safety who share our passion for helping Australians to have positive and safe experiences online.
“I look forward to seeing how these recipients bring energy and new perspectives to online safety education in the coming year, helping us to reach many more Australians.”