09 June 2016

Digital liaisons – the dangers of cyber space

Author :

What you remember as bullying from your old childhood is nothing compared to bullying these days. Bullying doesn’t just belong to the school yard anymore. What was once considered “safe places”; such as the family home, doesn’t exist anymore. Cyber bullies can target the victim 24/7.

Compared to the “old fashioned” way of bullying that took place in public, cyber bulling is harder to detect as it’s often done in secret. And not only can more people participate in it, bullies often create false profiles and names to remain anonymous. Online harassments are also difficult to remove once they have been posted, and are often shared, enabling more bullies to participate.

As technology is becoming more and more available to younger children while the number of social platforms is increasing, cyber bullying is an issue on the rise. Children are particularly vulnerable and are often a common target of cyber-bullying, and about 200 million children worldwide have been affected by it. Research also estimates that 158,000 children miss school daily as a result of cyber bullying, and research by the federal government found that one in four of Australian students have been exposed to bull

An individual can fall victim to cyber bullying in several different ways:

  • Being sent abusive, insulting, hurtful or threatening messages
  • Bullies sending photos or videos of you to others to embarrass or hurt you
  • Bullies spreading lies rumours or gossip about the victim
  • The victim being excluded from online groups
  • Being stalked
  • Being sent messages, videos or photos of a sexual nature
  • Bullies setting up fake profiles pretending to be the victim
  • Bullies stealing the victim’s password to enter private social networking sites
  • Being sent hurtful messages from someone the victim doesn’t even know

The Children’s eSafety Commissioner dealt with a 124 serious cases of cyber bullying in just nine months leading up to April this year. And another 4000 other children and teens were referred to the Kid’s Helpline as a result of online bullying.

Many children that have become victims don’t tell their parents of fear it will make the situation worse, but if you suspect that your child or someone in your family has fallen victim, there are several organisations that can help you out.

You can also send complaints on bullying and harassment to the Australian Human Rights Commission, which can investigate the matter.

Parents, grown-ups and government bodies need to come together to stop cyber bullying. Parents, guardians and teachers need to be aware of the risks and where the children are spending their time online. It’s a conversation that needs to be had and an issue we need to tackle together.

Mimmie grew up in Sweden and first came to Australia as a backpacker after high school. After travelling around the country for two years she returned to Europe and pursued a Bachelor’s degree in Journalism in London. But the longing for Australia and the sun became too strong. After having worked for some time in the media industry, Mimmie decided to make a change and swap the news for conferences. She now gets to do what she loves the most, meeting new people and keep learning about cultures and issues while producing conferences on current topics.

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