Australia has been ranked 2nd in a new set of global online safety statistics for children, after the report found that Australia is the second-safest country in the world for children online.
Authors of the DQ Institute’s Child Online Safety Index have been taking responses from more than 145,000 children and teenagers across thirty countries, both in the developed and developing world over the past 36-months.
Their results found that Australia came in second place, behind Spain in their Child Online Safety Index, based on the author’s six key criteria, which include cyber education, as well as exposure to cyber risks in children.
Thailand took out the survey’s wooden spoon award.
In total, the report says that Australian children spend more than 38-hours per week looking at either a computer, mobile phone or television screen. This is 12-hours longer than the average of Japanese children, who spend 24-hours a week looking at screens.
Other highlights of the report include the fact that:
- 45% of online children across the surveyed countries are affected by cyberbullying
- 39% experience reputational risks
- 29% are exposed to violent or sexual content
- 28% experience cyber threats
- 17% experience risky contact such as offline meetings with strangers or sexual contact
- 13% are at risk of a gaming disorder
- 7% are at risk of a social media disorder
Australia Ranked 2nd in Global Online Safety for Children
Specific to Australia, third place was taken out in terms of social infrastructure, which is based on government policies and industry practices that keep Australian children safe online. The U.S. took out the top spot, with the UK and Australia rounding-out the podium, and Nepal in last place.
Australia took out the fifth spot in terms of connectivity, with Singapore ranking highest and Nepal once again taking out last place.
In terms of digital competency, Australia ranked sixth in the world, with India taking out the top spot in terms of children’s ability to use technology – both safely and responsibly.
Australia took out 11th place when it came to cyber risks, cyber bullying and risky contact with strangers. Japan took out first-place, while Thailand finished last. More specifically, more than two-thirds of Australian children were exposed to at least one form of cyber risk, while 34% had reported unwanted sexual contact.
In terms of disciplined digital use, another of the survey’s key criteria, the authors said that Australia ranked 11th in the world, stating that phone ownership and excessive social media and gaming took its toll on the overall ranking, where Japan finished in first place.
Founder of the DQ Institute, Dr Yuhyan Park has said that the fact that “Australia is the second safety country we surveyed for children online will come as welcome news to Australian parents.”
“But no nation, no matter where they are ranked, has cause for complacency,” he added. “What we are witnessing is a global cyber-pandemic with high exposure to multiple forms of online risks threatening children across all the countries we surveyed.”
“Everyone in society has a role to play in turning this around,” he explained. “Businesses from social media and telecommunications to hardware and gaming companies, should make child online safety a core business principle. Companies should also partner with schools to help tackle cyberbullying,” he said.
“Most importantly, parents must be aware that they can make changes to reduce online harm. Helping children discipline their digital use from an early age is a necessary starting point for mitigating cyber risks.”
“Through the index, Australia and other countries will be able to identify areas of improvement through global benchmarking and then better focus on deploying initiatives for their children’s online safety,” Dr Park concluded.