Online safety still a concern for sport

  • Integrity Blog

Millions of Australians have been affected by data breaches and recent reports indicate that sporting organisations and clubs are not immune.

Safer Internet Day

Tuesday 6 February 2024 is Safer Internet Day – a day of awareness and education around online behaviour and safety. Driven by Australia’s eSafety Commission, Safer Internet Day next week aims to safeguard internet users against online abuse, cyber-attacks and exposure to corruptive content. 

This comes at an important time when recorded cases of online abuse and cyberattacks are rapidly increasing.  

Data released by the eSafety Commission shows a disproportionate number of vulnerable minorities such as Indigenous Australians and children were the ones most likely to be impacted by online abuse. It reveals:

  • 62% of children were exposed to potentially harmful online content.
  • Almost half of children aged 8-17 were treated in a hurtful or nasty way. 
  • 29% of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander children experienced online hate speech – almost triple the national average.
  • Fewer than 1 in 3 adults knew what to do when personal information or images were shared without consent.

Recent media indicates athletes, (particularly female athletes), are targeted online.

Measures athletes and sports can take

The prevalence of the internet in our everyday lives, businesses and sports unfortunately also means an increased risk of exposure to online abuse and cybercrime. This means we all need to do our part to protect ourselves.

Below are tips for sports, clubs and athletes to keep themselves safe online:

  • Ensure individuals identities, particularly those of children, are not identifiable online.
  • Block and report any inappropriate comments or messages on social media platforms.
  • Keep your online friends online and don’t arrange to meet with people you don’t know. 
  • Be informed – Sport Integrity Australia in consultation with the eSafety Commission has developed a Cyber Safety and Security in Sport eLearning course, which covers all the need to know about keeping yourself and your sport safe online.

What Sport Integrity Australia are doing

Education:

  • Sport Integrity Australia has developed an award-winning cyber safety eLearning course to guide athletes, clubs and administrators on how to best protect themselves online.
  • The Cyber Safety and Security in Sport eLearning course takes 45 minutes to complete and is available now, via Sport Integrity Australia eLearning.

Research:

  • In partnership with the eSafety Commissioner and the University of Canberra, Sport Integrity Australia is backing an ongoing research project into the cyber bullying of women in sport.
  • The aim of the research is to inform an evidence-based approach to irradicating cyber abuse from sport and especially women’s sports.

Related information