More than 185,000 Indigenous Australians from across Queensland will be exposed to a comprehensive Deadly Choices educational platform, 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.
Deadly Choices Ambassador and league legend, Steve Renouf welcomed the grant, confirming the extraordinary scope of the project will allow young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples from rural, remote and urban communities, to become better informed and advised around the dangers that exist within the online space.
“We live in a technologically advanced society so it’s important for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children to be continually aware of the dangers associated with using easily available technologies such as the internet via mobile phones, tablets and other devices,” confirmed Renouf.
“Education around issues relating to cyber bullying, online abuse, exploitation and various other activities need to be highlighted, as these factors can ultimately adversely affect an individual’s overall physical and mental health, safety and wellbeing.
“By incorporating an e-Safety component as part of the well-established and highly successful Deadly Choices Healthy Lifestyle Program, we continue to close the health and life expectancy gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians, thanks to the ongoing and continued support and commitment of the Queensland and Australian Governments.
“The successful formula of using sport as a vehicle to drive these important health and education messages for our people will continue, as will the tapping into the various existing partnerships with sporting organisations to assist in highlighting e-Safety for all.
“Not only will school student participants benefit from the Deadly Choices e-Safety Program, it’s envisaged that graduates also become Ambassadors around e-Safety initiatives on behalf of their communities. They do so by discouraging negative online activity and ensuring their families and the wider community are aware of the dangers associated with deviant online behaviours.”
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.
Find out more about the Online Safety Grants Program, including the eligibility criteria, visit: https://www.esafety.gov.au/about-us/what-we-do/our-programs/online-safety-grants-program
Please go to www.esafety.gov.au for tips, resources and advice, and to report online abuse.