By Julian Leeser
As a parent, I worry about the safety of kids online. I worry about online predators, and I worry about the adverse mental health and other effects of kids spending too much time online.
That’s why I’m delighted that our government has made changes to the online safety environment which have recently come into force.
These changes give Australia’s eSafety Commissioner substantial new powers to protect all Australians – adults now as well as children – across most online platforms and forums where people can experience abuse or harm.
The new laws will make social media giants remove posts deemed bullying or abusive within 24 hours.
If the posts are not taken down, individuals could face fines of up to $111,000 or companies could be hit with a $555,000 fine.
As part of the new laws, people who are abused or harassed online should first report the offending post to the social media platform where it was posted.
Should the company not take down the post, people will be able to report the incident to the eSafety commissioner.
The Online Safety Act also gives the Commissioner significant powers over the regulation of other content online – including adult content.
The Commissioner is currently working with the industry on developing codes to enforce the new rules around adult content, with a view to developing a roadmap to require age verification for adult content online by the end of this year.
I encourage you to visit the eSafety website [esafety.gov.au] for more information about the Act and eSafety’s regulatory priorities.