What is Cyberbullying?

"Cyberbullying is when someone uses SMS, email, blogs, chat rooms, discussion boards, instant messages, or social networking sites (such as Facebook and Twitter) to behave in a way that is cruel or hurtful. It includes everything from posting nasty comments and photos to spreading rumours and making threats. It’s important to remember that words and actions meant as a joke can end up really hurting someone.

Cyberbullying is serious because the target often feels like they can't escape. Unlike bullying at school, bullying online can happen anywhere and at any time.

Cyberbullying can also be very public, especially if photos or comments are posted on sites that can be accessed by anyone. Even if photos or comments are only sent to one person or a small group of people, there's a chance that they'll get out to others. Once they're out, there out forever - and there's no way to control who sees them."

Source and further information: Legal Aid NSW

Cyberbullying in Australia - Statistics

Source and further reading: teacher.acer.edu.au

Cyberbullying is a criminal offence

In NSW, it is a crime to assault, stalk, harass or intimidate school students or staff. This carries a penalty of up to seven years' imprisonment.

The old adage 'It takes a village to raise a child' appears even more relevant today. "To address cyber bullying, we need to involve the whole community - education, media, decision-makers, neighbours, friends, everyone - even the law," Dr Laws said. "For example, it is important for students and parents to know that there are Federal laws that make it an offence to use a carriage service, such as the internet and mobile phones, to make a threat or menace, harass or cause offence. The laws about cyber bullying are clear and everyone needs to know this." There is a range of legislation that could be used in bullying situations, Dr Laws said. "There is stalking and harassment legislation, as well as assault and common assault. In NSW for example, it is a crime to assault, stalk, harass or intimidate school students or staff at school. This carries a penalty of up to seven years," she said.

Source and more information: Catholic Education Office Sydney, Bullying Special Feature: Beatings Without Bruises - Bullying in the 21st Century, researched and written by Kathryn Barton.


"One form of very risky behaviour that has become more frequent in Australia is known as 'sexting' - a play on the word 'texting', Dr McLoughlin said. Sexting is the distribution of sexy words and/or pictures via mobile phone, possibly intended for the recipient only, but are just too easy to upload onto social networking sites. Once there, the pictures are visible to a bigger audience than perhaps first intended - and sometimes that audience is global. "Sexting involves taking pictures of oneself alone or with others in sexy poses, engaging in intimate behaviour, or exposing a body part," she said. The consequences of such risky behaviour - such as public humiliation, cyberbullying and, in some cases, sexual assault - are detailed by the NSW Government in its fact sheet 'Safe Sexting: No such thing'. The person in the photo(s) may be harassed, victimised or ridiculed when the photos are made public without their knowledge or consent, Dr McLoughlin said."

Source and further information: Malice in Wonderland, The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly of New Media, Researched and written by Kathryn Barton, included here with author's permission.

Cyber Safety for children

"Cyber safety experts from the Australian Federal Police (AFP) have teamed up with Disney to create and distribute a new online safety program for primary school children. Called Online Safety—It Starts With You, the national program focuses on good internet citizenship.

While some aspects of the program require a paid membership, free resources include online safety tips for kids and parents." Source and more information: HappyChild.com.au

Interesting Article related to LGBTQ Youth

The article linked below was published in Cyberpsychology, Behaviour and Social Networking, Volume 17, Number 9, 2014. Editorial by Brenda K. Wiederhold, PhD, MBA, BCB, BCN.

Cyberbullying and LGBTQ Youth - A Deadly Combination

Cyber Bullying, Seniors and Financial Fraud

"Evidence from the Australian Institute of Criminology (AIC) indicates that older Australians have difficulties managing their online security and people over the age of 65 are more likely to be victims of online financial fraud than any other age group."

Source: S Ross, R G Smith, Risk factors for advance fee fraud victimization, Trends and issues in crime and criminal justice no.420, Australian Institute of Criminology, 2011.

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