According to the ACMA’s research, more than one in five 14 to 15-year-olds has experienced cyberbullying, compared to sixteen per cent of 16 to 17-year-olds. Twelve per cent of 14 to 15-year-olds report that they have frequently witnessed cyberbullying.
‘The good news is that these young people are prepared to stand up and speak out about cyberbullying. Fourteen and 15-year-olds reported that they frequently took action by telling the cyberbully to stop (14 per cent), defending the target of the bullying (20 per cent), or ignoring the cyberbullying behaviour (21 per cent),’ Richard Bean said.
Levels of cyberbullying among Australian children remain generally steady despite increases in online participation, indicating that the cybersafety messages underpinning programs such as Cybersmart are getting through.
You may have seen the news last week stating that the Federal government has launched a new cybersafety initiative for children. Developed by Life Education and McAfee, the program will be rolled out to 3,500 primary schools nation wide. Prime Minister Julia Gillard explains:
We have taught our kids generation after generation about how to be streetwise and how to face up to stranger danger. If I had a dollar for every time my mother lectured me on the way out about not getting in cars with people you didn’t know and not talking to strangers, I would be a far wealthier woman.
So generation after generation we have taught our kids about the dangers that they might encounter in the world that they inhabit and live in.
Now we’ve got to teach our kids about new dangers in a new environment in the cyber world.
We know many parents worry a great deal about cyber bullying, about the kind of bullying that follows you from the school gates into your home, that never gives you a break, that is there even when you are on school holidays or weekends, that is there even in the middle of the night because kids wake up and check their devices.
So I’m pleased that today we will be releasing new guidelines for social networking sites which commits companies such as Facebook and Google, Yahoo! and Microsoft to work in accordance with these protocols. And these companies have agreed to make this commitment.
A group of young people are visiting Melbourne schools to ensure that their peers are wise to the ways of cybersafety. Recently The Age reported that
The Youth Disability Advocacy Service has recently launched peer-education workshops, called webWise, to teach young people who live with disabilities on how best to avoid online pitfalls.
Jarrod Marrinon, one of the class presenters, explained that the classes cover cyberbullying, sexting (sending a sexually explicit message by mobile phone), risks involved in using social media sites and online scams. Mr Marrinon, 23, also introduced his students to how social media could benefit their lives.
The Australian Government’s Cybersafety Help Button provides internet users, particularly children and young people, with easy online access to cybersafety information and assistance available in Australia. It offers counselling, reporting and educational resources to assist young people deal with online risks including cyberbullying, unwanted contact, scams and fraud, and offensive or inappropriate material.
The help button is a free application that is easily downloaded onto personal computers, mobile devices, and school and library networks.
All you need do is choose one of the installation options. Once the help button is installed, you can access it anytime for help or advice about something unsafe or upsetting that you have encountered on the internet.
If you would like to see where the button takes you before deciding to download it, visit the cybersafety help and advice page. Young people should get permission from their parents or caregivers before downloading the button.