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New eSafety resources tackle online abuse in sport

Published Wed 06 Mar 2024

With support from major Australian sporting codes and integrity units, eSafety has launched new sport resources to help stem the tide of online abuse from the grassroots to the elite level. eSafety Sport is a one-stop-shop for administrators, coaches, officials, parents and competitors to learn ways to prevent and manage online abuse in community sport.

“With backing from the sports Australians love, we’re giving a red card to online abuse in sport,” eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said.

“This insidious problem is casting a dark shadow over sporting activities that more than 11 million Australians enjoy every week. Targeted online harassment takes a mental and emotional toll on the very people who make sport happen: our coaches, umpires and players. 

“There are long-established conventions around hurling threats and abuse in the stands when physically attending any sport. These same rules against abuse need to be applied online. 

“While we might be disappointed with a particular call or play, that doesn’t mean it’s acceptable to unleash a torrent of online abuse. On the receiving end of every piece of online vitriol is a person: someone’s child, mum, neighbour, friend, uncle or sister. We cannot let our passion for the game blind us to the damaging impact of harmful online words and actions.” 

eSafety Sport includes practical information on how to recognise online abuse, how to deal with online abuse, eight ways to stay safe online and promotional resources for clubs to download and show their support. It also includes tailored advice and scenarios for sports administrators, coaches and officials, athletes and competitors and sport parents.

By Michael Arnold.