Sport is part of Australian life. Whether it’s training sessions, matches or tournaments, every day we see sport being played at fields, pools and courts across the country.
While sport for the most part is a physical event, it’s important to recognise it almost always has an online dimension. Coaches use videos for training, team managers use apps to organise players, squads are on group chats, clubs manage member data online and players share photos on social media. We are regularly online as part of our sporting life.
Just as rules, safety and respect are needed ‘at the game’ – they are important online too.
Issues occur in areas such as privacy, security, image sharing, bullying, harassment and discrimination, and can have a serious impact on individuals and the sport itself.
What can we do to make sport safe on and off the field?
1. The baseline - uphold basic values
Whether you’re a coach, player, volunteer, parent or supporter, uphold some simple online values:
Sport organisations and leaders can share and promote these values to encourage online safety.
2. Manage your online life
Take proactive steps to manage your online presence and safety:
Follow the practical eSafety tips on each of these topics and more on the eSafety website.
3. Be aware of online issues
Some of the serious issues people can encounter online include:
The eSafety website provides a detailed overview of these key issues, including what you can do and how to report to us.
4. Handle negative online experiences
Anyone can have a negative online experience, ranging from relatively low impact issues like mild criticism to more damaging experiences such as cyberbullying. If it happens to you, there are a number of ways you can respond.
Contact your sport
Reach out to your sport organisation for guidance and support, or to report matters.
It is important that you take screenshots of what's happening and record the account details such as the username or account URL. Use the eSafety guide to collecting evidence.
Report and block online abuse
Abusive posts and comments are never acceptable. If you are being harassed, intimidated, humiliated or threatened, report it to the site where it is happening and block or mute the person doing it. The eSafety guide provides help on how to do this. If the platform does not help you, report serious online abuse to eSafety.
Intimate images shared without consent
If your intimate images have been shared or threatened to be shared without your consent (image-based abuse) contact eSafety for help.
Pause and reflect
Give yourself space and time so that you respond rather than react. Don’t deplete your emotional strength and energy by giving negative online experiences more attention than they deserve.
Surround yourself with supportive people
You don’t need to handle any negative online experiences on your own. Talk with family, friends, peers and your sport. Consider professional support from a counselling service if needed.
Australia’s eSafety Commissioner helps create safe and more positive online experiences for all Australians. Go to the eSafety website for practical resources: