New research commissioned by the Abbott Government this year showed that one in five Australian children aged eight to 17 experiences cyberbullying each year.
The findings confirm that cyberbullying is widespread and that there is significant community concern about whether there are adequate response mechanisms available today.
More than 470 students from Allendale Primary School, St Lawrence’s Primary School and Geraldton Senior College participated in five workshops to learn to be safe, smart and responsible when using technology. A further 50 teachers from Geraldton Senior College attended a workshop.
Melissa Price Federal Member for Durack, hosted Nola Marino, Federal Member for Forrest, presented the workshops.
Working with local and Federal Police and being on the Joint Select Committee for Cyber-Safety, Ms Marino has been able to identify what concerns young people when using the internet.
Ms Price said she was concerned about young people’s safety when using the internet and that Geraldton was fortunate that Ms Marino was able to conduct the cyberbullying workshops, which have helped many children and parents over the past years.
“The workshop presentation addressed the risks associated with social media like Facebook and Twitter, cyber bullying, your child’s digital footprint, what it means to be groomed online, your mobile phone and its security weaknesses such as location services and of course, scams,” Ms Price said.
“If you are being cyberbullied, you need to block the contact or ignore it, and tell a parent or responsible adult.”
The workshop participants also discussed unwanted contact, online friends, rude messages and online gaming and how to recognise the associated dangers, as well as strategies for managing them.
The Abbott Government announced funding of $10 million in the May Budget for its policy of Enhancing Online Safety for Children, including:
- $7.5 million to assist schools to access accredited online safety programmes;
- $2.4 million to establish and operate the Office of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner (the Commissioner) to take a leadership role in online safety; and
- $0.1 million to support Australian-based research and information campaigns on online safety.