Hit delete on cyberbullying
Victims of cyberbullying have been urged to tell someone about it rather than suffer in silence.
In recognition of Safer Internet Day, Western NSW Community Legal Centre principal solicitor, Pat O’Callaghan, has encouraged people to learn more about cyber abuse and what they can do to combat it.
“Cyberbullying invades our safe places, such as our homes, schools and workplaces,” Mr O’Callaghan said.
“Anywhere you find a computer or mobile phone people can feel under attack. Fortunately, those on the receiving end of cyber abuse are not powerless, even if they might feel like it at the time.
“In fact, those who engage in cyber abuse may be guilty of an offence if it involves stalking, intimidation, threats of physical harm or encouragement to commit suicide. Image-based abuse (sending or posting nude or sexual images of someone without their permission) is also a crime.”
New research released by the eSafety Commissioner found that teens spent an average 14.4 hours a week online and 44% of them had a negative online experience in the six months leading up to September last year.
The research listed the top three negative experiences as being ‘contacted by a stranger or someone they didn't know (30%), receiving inappropriate or unwanted content (20%) and being deliberately excluded from events/social groups (16%)’.
“The good news is that the majority of teens (80%) took some sort of action after that experience,” Mr O’Callaghan said.
Cyber abuse is not just directed at teens. It is also experienced by adults, particularly in domestic and family violence situations.
Western NSW Community Legal Centre provides free legal talks on cyberbullying and other legal topics to schools, community groups and workplaces in Dubbo and the wider western region. Find out more about Safer Internet Day at www.esafety.gov.au.