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Safer Internet Day 2019

Cast your mind back to the year 2009.

Twitter has become mainstream, and Facebook has only just overtaken MySpace (RIP) as the most popular social network platform in the world. The digital landscape was very different 10 years ago.

These days, people all around the world interact with each other through Twitter, and Facebook has over 2 billion users worldwide.

There’s no doubt that the internet and digital technologies have numerous benefits and for many of us, are an integral and significant part of our daily lives.

However, we also need to be aware of existing and emerging online issues that affect young people and adults alike, from social networking and engineering, to cyber abuse and cyberbullying. Some of these online behaviours can have negative and sometimes devasting consequences, risking the online (and sometimes physical) safety of individuals.

Safer Internet Day is an initiative that aims to raise awareness of online issues and promote the positive, safe, and responsible use of digital technologies. Safer Internet Day is celebrated globally in more than 100 countries, this year on 5 February, with the Office of the eSafety Commissioner driving the initiative in Australia.

This year’s theme ‘Together for a better internet’ seeks to encourage individuals to create a better internet by developing four critical skills, the ‘4Rs’ –

Respect: treating yourself and others the way you would like to be treated

Responsibility: being accountable for your actions online

Reasoning: being critical about what is and isn’t real

Resilience: bouncing back from tough situations

We, as individuals, have a responsibility to use the internet and digital technologies in a safe, responsible and respectful way, to protect not only ourselves but also our friends and family. Privacy is an important part of respecting others online. Think critically about what you post online on social media, for example. Sometimes it’s not just your own personal information you’re posting for the world to see – your family member may be in that photo as well, or you may be tagging your friend when checking into a place. Think about whether they would want that photo or information about them to be online, and consider asking them before you post. This is what one of the 4Rs, Respect, is about – treating others the way you would like to be treated.

To find out more about Safer Internet Day and online issues facing all of us today, head to the eSafety Commissioner’s website.

Listed below are some useful websites with resources on how to be safe online, aimed particularly at young people:


This article was written by Tricia Asibal, Policy Officer, Office of the Victorian Information Commissioner. The views expressed in this post are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the views of OVIC.

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