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Grants support young people to navigate the online world

Close up portrait of two disabled twin sisters laughing outdoors.

Fifteen non-government organisations (NGOs) across Australia will share in $4.5 million to create online safety resources for young people in the latest round of grants, led by eSafety and funded by the Australian Government.

The latest funding brings to 23 the number of projects being delivered by NGOs to teach young people how to be safer online, under the $9 million three-year Online Safety Grants Program.

Eight NGOs shared $2.25 million in funding through the first round of the program in 2020.

Round one grant recipient Endeavour Foundation, based in Brisbane, received $100,000 to develop an Online Safety Academy with learning modules focused on cyberbullying, scam identification, privacy, and online social skills for young people with an intellectual disability.

One of the Online Safety Academy participants, Maddie, said: “‘I’m really happy that I was part of this amazing opportunity. I’ve helped people to understand that there is danger online and to use the internet safely instead of being silly and bullying people online.”

Long-time youth advocate and empowerment organisation, The Y, used grant funding of $332,500 to develop the online resource Stay Safe, Tell Someone, a ‘choose your own adventure’ online safety education package for youth.

“The Y’s Stay Safe Online, Tell Someone Program has empowered over 22,000 children, young people and adults to tell someone if they see, hear of feel anything online that worries or concerns them,” said Phil Doorgachurn, Executive Manager, Y Safeguarding.

“With the generous grant from the eSafety Commissioner, over 90 per cent of children, young people and adults who took part in the program now feel safer online”

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.”

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said NGOs often have a deep and local understanding of the diverse communities they work with, and as such are well placed to develop tailored online safety education programs to reach their audiences effectively.

“All young people have a right to be safe and free to express themselves in digital spaces,” Ms Inman Grant said.

“Our aim is to empower young people to speak up about online abuse and harassment and to know when and where to seek out help when they need it. Youth consultation and co-design is one of the key objectives of this grant program and an element in many of the projects.

“These education programs implemented by NGOs give young people the skills to recognise and deal with online abuse and teaches them what positive, healthy online interactions look like.”

Ms Inman Grant reminded NGOs that round three of the Online Safety Grants Program will be open for applications in 2022 with $2.25 million in grants available

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,” said Ms Inman Grant said.

Find out more about the Online Safety Grants Program, including the eligibility criteria.

 

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