Digital confidence — also called digital literacy or digital intelligence — refers to the skills to safely navigate the internet, to critically engage with online information and to effectively manage relationships with others online. As the internet becomes increasingly important in our everyday lives, it is critical that Australians have the confidence, and the skills, to engage safely online.
This research shows that while a sizeable majority of Australian adults are confident in their ability to use online technologies, they are less confident in how to manage specific online risks.
The research also highlights that most adult Australians perceive that there are significant risks of harm online and the top three are seen to be scams/fraud, bullying/trolling and the misuse of personal information/images. The majority of adults report that they need online safety information. However, there is a disconnect between the need for this information and people's actions — only one in ten adult Australians searched for or received online safety information. This is consistent with findings from other eSafety research into parents and young people. It could be that people only seek this information after having a negative experience online. Further research is needed to understand why people don't actively seek online safety information despite seeing its value, and how to change behaviour so Australians become proactive rather than reactive consumers of online safety information.
- The perception of online risk is greater than the rates of negative online experiences among adult Australians.
- Eight in 10 adult Australians say they have a good understanding of the negative things that can happen online (79%) and seven in 10 feel confident using online technology (72%).
- However, adult Australians are less confident about handling issues such as how to protect their privacy online (64%), how to determine if information online is reliable (59%) or how to deal with being cyber-bullied or harassed online (56%).
- While 75% of adult Australians agree that technology companies have a responsibility for people’s online safety, only 23% think that these companies are doing enough to build in safety features into their services and products.