The AFL and Australia's eSafety Commissioner today formally announced they are joining forces to tackle the important issue of online safety within the AFL community with the launch of a new social campaign — #PlayFairOnline — calling on everyone to Play It Safe and Fair – Online and Offline.
The campaign will kick off with the release of a set of easy-to-follow guidelines developed by eSafety to encourage fans to be respectful online, be upstanding online citizens, and think about how their actions can affect others.
eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said the issue of online safety is one that affects people of all ages and walks of life, which is why this collaboration with the AFL, with its huge fan base, is such a great way to encourage footy fans to consider the impact online abuse can have on all of us.
"The internet can provide the cheapest seats in the house with the belief that abuse can be hurled with impunity. We know that people can tend to vent their frustrations online and targeted negativity can be very damaging to the person on the receiving end," Ms Inman Grant said.
"We must not give a platform for this abuse and we need people to realise that this behaviour is not okay. But rather than just handballing the problem to someone else, we need to tackle this together.
"Change begins with one person – you – and by thinking about how you conduct yourself and interact with others online, you can help change the game. You can also play a positive role by calling out this behaviour because just as the players play it safe and fair on the field, we all need to play it safe and fair online."
The new campaign is part of an ongoing collaboration between the AFL and the eSafety Commissioner which began earlier this year.
Tanya Hosch, AFL General Manager for Social Policy and Inclusion said the need to provide further support to the online community is relevant now more than ever.
"Sadly, racism is targeting our players all too frequently and we need to do all we can to try to eradicate this from our game. Just like on the footy field, there is no place for abuse, hate or discrimination online.
"We are committed to ensure our players, staff, fans, and footy families can feel safe in the AFL environment, and that includes online platforms. Our relationship with the eSafety Commissioner has provided us with ability to spread their advice on best practice online behaviours which are designed to keep our online community supported and safe.
"Just as players back their teammates on the field, we all have a role in supporting our players and teams online. We are issuing a call to action for the AFL community, it is time to be an upstanding member of the online community and call out online abuse and encourage others to #PlayFairOnline."