From the narrow bay of Sydney’s Tamarama Beach, a cable twice as thick as garden hose, carrying optic fibre thinner than human hair, stretches along the ocean floor linking Australia to Papua New Guinea and Solomon Islands.
The Coral Sea cable will provide, for the first time, fast internet to Australia’s near Pacific island neighbours. A similar link, called Manatua One Polynesia – connecting Samoa, Niue, the Cook Islands and French Polynesia – was declared “ready for service” in July.
But a new report from Western Sydney University, Plan International, and Child Fund Australia says the Pacific’s emerging connectivity boom brings with it both opportunity and risk, with particular concern for the safety of women and girls online.
Researchers found while both children and adults welcomed opportunities for education, social connectivity, and entertainment, many held concerns: 77% of children surveyed said they feared accessing inappropriate content like horror movies