First Nations to have better online experiences through culture, connection, and creativity

Dept of Infrastructure, Transport, Regional Development and Communications

The Albanese Government is supporting better online experiences for First Nations people as new research shows that more young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people are turning to technology for cultural expression and engagement.

Findings released today by the eSafety Commissioner reveal First Nations youth are collectively using the internet in greater than average numbers to explore the world, make new friends, connect with people from different backgrounds, and discuss social or political issues.

eSafety’s research, Cool, Beautiful, Strange and Scary: the online experiences of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children and their parents and care givers, shows that First Nations youth are almost twice as likely as young Australians overall to post original video or music online, and more than twice as likely to post their own story or blog.

Troublingly, the research report also shows that First Nations youth face a greater risk of exposure to a range of other harmful content and are nearly three times more likely to report experiencing hate speech.

The results come as eSafety releases a comprehensive suite of resources aimed at helping First Nations communities continue to thrive online, and navigate the risk of negative online experiences.

Available at eSafety.gov.au/firstnations, the resources include new video and audio content in multiple languages designed to help First Nations people of all ages maximise the value of online experiences and avoid potential dangers such as cyberbullying, abuse and harmful content.

Prepared in partnership with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander organisations, the package includes designs from First Nations artist Amy Allerton to help communicate important online safety messages.

Quotes attributable to the Minister for Communications, the Hon Michelle Rowland MP:

“The Albanese Government is committed to building a safe, positive and respectful online environment for First Nations people.

“First Nations digital inclusion is a priority. That is why it’s encouraging to see so many young First Nations people using the internet to learn, connect with their peers, create content and engage with their democracy.

“The Albanese Government takes the research findings released today very seriously. There is no place in Australia for hate.

“eSafety can help when things go wrong online, and support victims of online abuse. I look forward to seeing how eSafety’s latest resources support First Nations people to stay safe online.”

Quotes attributable to Minister for Indigenous Australians, the Hon Linda Burney:

“Technology can be a great tool to build connection, support identity and boost civic engagement.

“But today’s research from the eSafety Commissioner is a reminder it also carries risks, with young Indigenous Australians more likely to be exposed to harmful content or hate speech attacks.

“As with so many other areas where disadvantage undermines health and wellbeing, more work is needed to ensure equal protections and access to the good things the internet can provide.

“This is especially so as we begin the referendum process to enshrine an Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Voice in the Australian Constitution.”

Quotes attributable to eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant:

“Our research reveals negative experiences online can have a profound impact on young First Nations people, triggering feelings like sadness and anger or a sense of isolation.

“We investigate and remove abusive or harmful content through our complaint schemes every day and I urge everyone to continue reporting it to us at eSafety.gov.au.

“But our research also shows young First Nations people are demonstrating a high degree of resourcefulness and resilience, taking positive and proactive steps such as blocking or deleting, reaching out to friends, families, schools or police, and changing privacy settings.

“eSafety has developed tailored information and advice to help reinforce and build on these impressive digital literacy skills. It’s designed to compliment our complaint schemes and empower First Nations communities to stay safe and active online, ensuring their voices, music and stories continue to be heard.”

Quotes attributable to the First Nations Digital Inclusion Advisory Group (FNDIAG):

“The First Nations Digital Inclusion Advisory Group is exploring how to best support digital literacy for First Nations people as part of its broader consideration of digital inclusion.

“The Advisory Group notes that online safety continues to be a key concern for First Nations people, including the need to support a safe and secure online experience for families and their children.

“The Advisory Group looks forward to working with the eSafety Commissioner on these issues further.”

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