Safer Internet Day: Message From Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison

By Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team
on 9 February 2021

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison today revealed his concerns about the dangers of cyber crime, especially amongst teenagers. During a message to mark Safer Internet Day, he said:  “As a father, I can’t tell you how much that upsets me.” 

The Prime Minister made his comments in a YouTube video interview (see below) and was referring to new research which revealed three in one teens have been contacted online by a stranger.

Australia’s eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said that teenagers are spending around two hours a day online, have four different social media services, and there’s a good chance they have had a negative experience online – including being contacted by a stranger.

“Our research shows that while teens’ increased use of technology offers many benefits, there is a distinct downside – dealing with negative online experiences such as unwanted contact and cyberbullying,” says Julie

In his message on Safer Internet Day, the Prime Minister also talked about the funding boost to stop online abuses and plans underway to change the laws to make the internet safer.

“Mostly we treat people the way we want to be treated…and that’s what we need to do on line as well,” he adds. “There’s a lot of work to do.” 

Prime Minister Scott Morrison

E-Saftey Commission research, The digital lives of Aussie teens

  • Teenagers used an average of four different social media services, with newer services such as TikTok gaining ground.
  • Just over four in 10 teenagers had at least one negative online experience in the six months to September 2020, with three in 10 having experienced unwanted contact from a stranger.
  • Two in 10 teenagers reported being sent unwanted inappropriate content, such as pornography or violent content.
  • Nine in 10 teenagers sought to build positive online relationships after experiencing negative online behaviour themselves. These acts of kindness included posting positive/nice comments about others, supporting or listening to a friend who had a bad experience or making sure that peers were not excluded online.

“A large percentage of teens still ignore potentially harmful online experiences or believe nothing will change if they seek help,” Julie adds. 

“This year we are encouraging people to ‘start the chat’ about online safety – whether that’s with friends, in the workplace, or parents at home with their children. Does your teenager know where to turn if they’ve had a negative experience online, or been approached by a stranger?

“It’s never too early to start the chat and this goes for younger children too. Today we also released two fantastic resources to help young children learn about online safety. The Swoosh, Glide and Rule Number 5 picture book and My Family Rules song by Lah-Lah will have them reading and singing along as they build good digital habits. If your children are online, you need to talk to them about safety and eSafety’s resources can help,” says Julie.

Minister for Communications, Urban Infrastructure, Cities and the Arts, Hon Paul Fletcher MP says that Safer Internet Day is an important day in the calendar:

“Safer Internet Day gives us all the opportunity to ‘start the chat’ about online safety. The Government recently committed to enhancing Australia’s world-leading online safety framework through the proposed Online Safety Bill, which will further protect Australians against harmful online abuse.”


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