Your Rights

If there is a question you have that we haven’t answered below, please contact us here so that we can support you with your enquiry.

If your matter is urgent, and you are feeling unsafe or in danger, below are the numbers of 24-hour helplines that you can call for someone to speak to, anonymously if you wish. 

If you feel that you are in danger and require urgent help, dial 000. 

If you wish to discuss your mental wellbeing with someone, you can dial Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636.

Your Online Human Rights

What are online human rights?

Your online human rights are no different to your offline human rights. These were first recognised in the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was written by the United Nations. Australia is a signatory to this Bill. 

Article 1 of this document states that ‘All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights’. At JustSociale, we are strong observers of this Article, and believe that, just as in the offline world, in the online realm we must all treat each other equally, and with respect for the dignity of others. 

The Preamble of this same document also states that ‘human beings shall enjoy freedom of speech and belief and freedom from fear’. 

In 2012, the UN Human Rights Council (UNHCR) affirmed that ‘the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online’ (mentioning in particular freedom of expression). 

At the same time, the UN Special Rapporteur recognized that ‘like all technological inventions, the Internet can be misused to cause harm to others’, and therefore that, as an exceptional measure, a restriction may be imposed on online content when it comes to freedom of expression, to protect the rights of others and to prevent hate speech from being used. 

At JustSociale, we are also dedicated to promoting the use of the Internet as a technological invention that provides unparalleled opportunities for the promotion and advancement of certain rights, most centrally the right to seek, receive and impart information. We are also dedicated to using it inclusively, with respect for diversity and the equality of all. We never stand for the misuse of the Internet to cause harm to others. 

What does being a good digital citizen mean?

Digital citizenship, a concept endorsed by UNESCO, is a term that describes how a person should act while using digital technology online.

At JustSociale, we believe and encourage everyone to act responsibly when using the Internet and communications technologies, including computers, laptops, smartphones or tablets.

Being a good digital citizen includes being aware of certain aspects of your online activities, including: 

Digital footprint 

  • A digital footprint is the data that is left behind by you when you use digital services. 
  • A passive digital footprint is created when data is collected without you knowing, whereas active digital footprints are created when personal data is released deliberately by you for the purpose of sharing information about yourself by means of websites or social media.
  • If you are unsure about your digital footprint, you can put your name into a search engine and see what comes up. 

 Digital identity 

  • A digital identity is information used to represent people, organisations or technology machines or platforms, in information systems and networks. 
  • We encourage everyone to represent themselves in a manner that is responsible, respectful of others’ rights, inclusive and authentic (by which we mean, not creating a false persona). The amount of personal information you choose to share about yourself, however, is something we do encourage everyone to think carefully about. 

 Digital literacy 

  • Digital literacy is the knowledge, skills and behaviours you use when you are actively using a broad range of digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, laptops and desktop.
  • Information and communication technologies have already reached into every aspect of our everyday lives, changing the type of skills necessary to be active members of society. 
  • As the Internet continues to rapidly evolve, so will the digital skills required to become a fully-fledged digital citizen, which means that taking an active interest in learning new skills, if you wish to use certain types of technologies – such as social media platforms or new types of devices – is something that you may wish to do, if you wish to be an informed, responsible member of our society online. 

Digital rights 

  • Knowing your online rights, and respecting the rights of others, is also a core part of being a good digital citizen. See our above question relating to online rights for further information about this. 

What kind of language is considered responsible online?

The language you use online is extremely important. At JustSociale, we urge you to think carefully about the language you use on the Internet and social media, and to ensure you are respecting everyone’s right to dignity, equality and freedom of expression. 

Broadly speaking, our advice is that if you would not say something to someone in real life, or in public, do not say it to them online. If you are unsure about whether or not to post something, or to comment in a certain way because it may be misinterpreted by another person or entity as being derogatory, harmful or disrespectful of their human rights, even if that is not your intention, then we urge you be cautious and to reconsider if it is necessary to publish it. If you disagree with a person’s opinion, remember that they are entitled to freedom of speech, unless that is hate speech, which we will go into further detail about below. 

If you do feel strongly about expressing a difference of opinion, you are entitled to do so; however, at JustSociale we urge you to do so respectfully, thoughtfully and diplomatically. Before posting something that may be perceived as negative by someone, and may cause them – even if you do not intend it to do so – to feel unsafe, or emotionally harmed, we suggest you simply do not ‘follow’ that individual or like that person’s post. 

We do not tolerate hate speech. At the federal level, under Commonwealth law in Australia, vilification is prohibited with respect to the following attributes: race, colour, ethnicity and national origin. 

At JustSociale, we strongly encourage everyone to not only respect everyone’s race, colour, ethnicity and national origin, but also people’s diverse religions, genders, sexual orientations and beliefs. We do not tolerate online harassment, abuse, trolling, coercive communication or technology facilitated violence. 

Broadly speaking, all online platforms do not tolerate hate speech. However, each platform does frame its guidelines around what language is permitted in a different way. To view the guidelines for each platform below, see here: 

What kind of imagery (visual content) is considered responsible online?

Like language, the imagery you post online is also extremely important – as we know, one image can speak a thousand words, which means it is crucial to be careful about the private information that any imagery you publish online shares about yourself and others.

When you are posting imagery online which is creative – whether that be a graphic design, photo, video or audio content – check the licence of any content that you would like to reuse, and make sure that you are using Creative Commons classified content. 

We also encourage all Australians to support fair online business models, which enable you to pay for content from your favourite artists, or other content creators. 

Similarly, it is important to be sure that the ownership of your creative output is respected by others. Plagiarism shows non-respect of creative ownership. 

Broadly speaking, all online platforms do not tolerate depictions of violence, aggression, or content that may be designed to incite violence, aggression or terrorism. 

Similarly, all online platforms do not tolerate depictions of nudity or pornography, which includes the display of nipples, except in some contexts, such as if a woman portrays a photo of herself breastfeeding in a forum for mothers. Or, content shows an artwork or sculpture depicting nudity is generally considered to be acceptable, but we encourage you to check the guidelines of the platforms you use before posting any type of nude imagery. 

Sharing nude photos of another person without their permission or consent is a criminal offence in Australia, and this includes the online distribution or the showing of intimate imagery of a former partner or spouse on your technology device, which is also termed ‘revenge porn’. 

Both distributing and accessing child pornography are also a criminal offence. 

With regards to nudity, we have included links to the policies of the major technology platforms for you below: 

Furthermore, all online platforms do not tolerate depictions of self harm, suicide, or content that may glorify self harm or suicide. This also extends to content that glorifies eating disorders. 

However, each platform does frame its guidelines around what imagery is permitted in a different way. To view the guidelines for each platform below, see here: 

What should I do if I am concerned about the way someone is interacting with me online?

If you feel threatened, in danger or concerned about the way someone is interacting with you online, we strongly encourage you to document their messages or interaction (for example, by screenshotting their posts or messages), and then block them and report them immediately via the platform that they are interacting with you on (see links to each platform below). If their online interaction with you has been repetitive and you wish to take further action, you can report them immediately to your local police station. The NSW police force provides guidelines for how you can do this here. If you are not in NSW, we encourage you to familiarise yourself with the guidelines provided by your State police. =

The eSafety Commissioner provides guidelines for how to stay safe online in more detail here: 

Parents Guide: https://www.esafety.gov.au/sites/default/files/2019-09/English%20-%20Parents%20guide.pdf

eSafety Kids: https://www.esafety.gov.au/kids/I-want-help-with/being-safe-online

Each online platform also has mechanisms in place for reporting unacceptable, abusive or harmful content. 

For guidelines around each major platform, see the links below

 

What are the rules around depictions of violence online?

There are strong rules in place on many online platforms to prevent people from being exposed to potentially disturbing or distressing content, which may cause emotional harm or trauma. Depictions of violence through graphics, photos or videos that are excessively aggressive, incite violence or encourage or support acts of violence or terrorism are never ok, and we at JustSociale do not tolerate any depictions of violence that may expose people to harmful content. 

Depictions of violence in terms of self-harm, or that glorify self-harm, including suicide, are also never acceptable. Similarly, whilst some online platforms, such as blogs or mental health websites talk about eating disorders to promote awareness of these issues to help those who may be facing disordered eating patterns, the glorification of eating disorders is also strongly discouraged, and we at JustSociale do not tolerate any glorification of disordered eating. 

What are my rights when it comes to privacy?

Each platform, app, and website that you visit may ask you to click ‘agree’ to a Privacy, User Agreement or Terms and Conditions policy before you can access their site, which means that they may capture your data.  

In Australia, the government conducts surveillance, which is generally justified as necessary to protect us from criminal or terrorist activities.

Under certain circumstances, various intelligence agencies, as well as federal and state police, can request access to your telephone and internet records. This can reveal information about your location and who you talked to, emailed or messaged.

The government recently passed the Telecommunications and Other Legislation Amendment (Assistance and Access) Act 2018, which allows government agencies greater access to encrypted messages, like those sent over WhatsApp.

Brands, on the other hand, want to look at the content that we create and share, such as our social media profiles and location data from mobile phones, because it helps them build a picture of how we spend our time and money. 

While it may be hard to protect privacy in the current times, Australians are becoming increasingly aware of their online rights so that they can minimise how they are surveilled, and at JustSociale we are here to help if you are unsure about where to find out who has access to your data, or want to learn more about ways to protect it. 

It is also important to familiarise yourself with the privacy settings on all of your devices and apps. 

How much screen time is considered healthy?

The World Health Organisation guidelines for the amount of screen time are included below: 

  • For infants (less than 1 year), screen time is not recommended.   
  • For children 1-2 years of age, sedentary screen time (such as watching TV or videos, playing computer games) is not recommended. 
  • For children aged 2 years, sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour; less is better. 
  • For children 3-4 years of age sedentary screen time should be no more than 1 hour; less is better. 

Many adults spend on average 11 hours of their day looking at their screens. Whilst there are no specific guidelines provided by the World Health Organisation concerning the amount of screen time that is recommended for adults, at JustSociale we believe the goal is finding balance between screen-based and non-screen activities. 

Particularly during these current times, when we are relying on connecting online more than ever – including emails, online meetings and social networking – there is research to suggest that staring at a screen for extended periods of time can deplete our energy, which can then impact our mental wellness. This is why we encourage people to set aside time to do other activities – such as socialising with friends, enjoying a creative pursuit, reading, exercising, getting the right amount of sleep, eating well and ‘unplugging’ from devices on a regular basis. 

 

How can I ensure that my children are staying safe online?

At JustSociale, we believe it is important for every family to have open, honest and age-appropriate conversations around their Internet and social media use. This not only includes parents and children, but grandparents, or other close loved ones. 

We respect that every family is different and has different values, opinions and beliefs. It may be helpful for your family to discuss and agree to what platforms you will use, because some platforms may expose younger family members to content that is not age appropriate. Parents can also manage the content that their children are exposed to on certain platforms, if they wish to do so. 

We encourage families to be positive when parenting in this new digital age, and to do your best to communicate about what you are all doing online, where you are going online and who you are talking to online. 

Even though technology has advanced rapidly, parenting remains much the same: stay active in your children’s life, encourage them to be good (digital) citizens and emphasise kindness and empathy. Whether you are the parent of a toddler or a teen, be aware of the challenges of your child’s development with respect to technology. Use technology in ways that help, not hinder, your child’s development.

Platforms also include guidelines for monitoring the content that young people are exposed to here: