Very few people could have predicted how our lives would be upturned in 2020.
The COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in a huge change in the way we live and work. One of the most significant changes for universities has been the move to online teaching and learning.
As universities and the rest of the world moved online, the risks posed to people’s online safety increased. Since early March 2020, reports to the eSafety Commissioner about online harms have surged, and reports of image-based abuse have almost doubled.
With university students and staff spending more time online, it is important now more than ever that our communities are equipped with information about online safety.
Some groups of people are at higher risk of online abuse than others. Young people aged 18 to 24 years old experience online abuse more than any other age cohort: over 35 per cent of reports of image-based-abuse made to eSafety relate to young adults aged 18 to 24 years old.
We also know that women are more likely to be targets of online abuse than men.
In May 2020, UA and the Office of the eSafety Commissioner released our Toolkit for Universities.
This toolkit contains more than a dozen resources that provide targeted advice for students, academics and institutions, as well as specific advice for women. They cover a range of topics including how to prepare for (and respond to) online safety incidents; how to support the online wellbeing of staff who may face cyberabuse; how to assess your current online safety preparedness; and how to use social media and digital platforms safely and set expectations for online engagement.
The toolkit can be downloaded from https://www.esafety.gov.au/educators/toolkit-universities.