Safety and respect online

About these guidelines

The purpose of these guidelines is to ensure we build a safe and respectful community online as well as offline. When you are interacting with someone via social media, forums or other online platforms it is important to be aware of your own language and behaviour as well as recognising when yourself or others are being mistreated online. This document will give you guidelines on how to interact respectfully and safely online as well as tips and resources on how to be an ethical bystander and how to seek support and report incidents.

Guidelines for respectful and safe online engagement

  • Treat others how you would like to be treated.
  • Treat people online the same way you would treat someone face-to-face. If you wouldn’t say it or do it in person, don’t do it online.
  • Acknowledge and accept others’ ideas.
  • Acknowledge and accept others’ culture, religion, sexuality and gender.
  • Understand the purpose of the online platform you are interacting on and respect the boundaries of relationships you build there.
  • Consent is key! In all online interactions.
  • Respect others’ trust and confidentiality.
  • Bullying, harassment, trolling and stalking is are never OK. Remember, expectations set out in the Student Code of Conduct Policy apply online.
  • UQ Library has some great information on effective online communication and etiquette.

Download the UQ Respect Guidelines for Safety and Respect Online

  • If you feel comfortable, you can tell some that their behaviour is inappropriate and not acceptable. Or ask the person not to contact you.
  • Block them. Most platforms allow you to ‘block’ someone so they can no longer interact with you or your content. Make sure to check your privacy settings.
  • If the behaviour continues or you feel unable to respond yourself, seek help.

Download the UQ Respect Guidelines for Safety and Respect Online

  • We all have a responsibility to create safe and respectful online spaces. If you see something that is not right or someone being treated disrespectfully, remember the 5 Ds of ethical bystanding:
    • Distract: Change the subject, ignore the comment and shift the direction of the conversation.
    • Direct: Tell the person what they have said is not OK.
    • Delegate: Ask someone in a position of authority for help.
    • Delay: Check in with the person who was the target.
    • Document: Report to UQ or relevant platform (e.g. Instagram, Facebook, X)

Check out Being an ethical bystander for more information and tips on being an ethical bystander.

Download the UQ Respect Guidelines for Safety and Respect Online

The eSafety Commissioner has released a useful toolkit for university students to ensure your safety online. Download the resources and visit their website for more information about staying safe online and reporting online abuse or harassment. They also have some great information and tips for building your psychological amour to increase you capacity to cope with challenges online. 

Safe online dating and consent

Online dating (usually using smart phone apps or websites) is now one of the most common and accessible ways for all types of people to meet intimate partners.

Online dating can be a fantastic tool that enables access to a broad range of potential partners, however, it is important to be aware of the risks involved should you choose to online date. Stay safe!