This article was written by Netsafe’s CEO Martin Cocker in the lead up to the 2018 Trans-Tasman Online Safety Conference – The Crossroads.

One of the defining characteristics of online safety is change. New technologies throw up new challenges (or new variations on existing ones). Online safety people are constantly at a crossroads faced with a range of possible options.

This year, the Trans-Tasman online safety conference is themed accordingly. “The Crossroads” will take place at the Hilton, Auckland on Oct 10 & 11 and sets out to ensure that everybody from the Government, through industry, to families and individuals can better navigate online safety choices.

The conference is the second co-hosted by Netsafe and the Australian Office of the eSafety Commissioner, and follows on from the successful 2017 event in Sydney. The Australian eSafety Commissioner (Julie Inman Grant) and I invest in this event because we recognise the need to constantly develop online safety responses, and to do so in partnership with the broader online safety community.

Online safety exists at the intersection of technology, education, enforcement, regulation, and health and wellbeing. Many of you contributing to online safety won’t think of yourselves as online safety people – because you primarily work in one of those fields.

If you take some responsibility for keeping people safe online – then you’re one of us. You might be helping people get through incidents, or laying out national policy. You may be helping people to use new technologies, or building them. You could be studying the impact of technology, or managing it.

Whatever you do, you’ll recognise the feeling of being at the crossroads faced with competing opinions, data and research. You’ll feel the responsibility of making quick decisions that you know could have long term ramifications.

We’re all feeling the uncertainty – so we might as well embrace it and meet at The Crossroads. By sharing knowledge and making connections – we should be able to illuminate the best path forward.

Participants can expect new knowledge to be a major takeaway from the event. Netsafe and eSafety have worked hard to create a programme focused on emerging challenges and responses. From thought provoking international keynotes to workshops with frontline practitioners – the event packs a lot in.

The opportunity to spend time with the wider online safety community shouldn’t be underestimated. These events are often the catalyst for new online safety initiatives and partnerships. The Crossroads includes formal and informal opportunities to share products, services, initiatives – and ideas.

The Crossroads is the only online safety conference in this region until September next year (when we will return to Sydney) but we certainly don’t abuse that monopoly position with expensive tickets. Thanks to our Government and industry partners and the generosity of speakers, we are able to keep the conference costs very low whilst still providing a high quality programme and experience.

The Crossroads is taking place on 10th-11th October at The Hilton in Auckland. Tickets are available now.