Recently News.com.au (2014) published a story about fighting back against cyber bullying. Author, John Caldwell, described the lack of knowledge around Australian Laws which he says are ambivalent in that they are not necessarily designed to help police prosecute. Caldwell’s stance is clear; knowledge is power and action is needed (News.com.au, 2014). While his sentiments are genuine work still needs to take place before traction is gained in the fight to stamp out these crimes.
For police, governments, and community, education is step one. Stalking laws and the Commonwealth criminal code covering menacing and harassing behavior support and empower victims. Caldwell’s stance is obvious; despite not being specifically designed for cyber bullying, existing measures will offer victims some protection and enable police to prosecute.
The government must protect and keep everyone safe. This should be the fundamental which prompts police and community action. State and Territory laws adequately suffice. Yet concern remains around current levels of enforcement. Social network companies mirror slow government action (Wilson, 2014), a two pronged counter cyber bullying approach is what the community requires to stay safe online.
Our current generation lives and breathes digital (7 News, 2014). Social lives are played out online, and bullying has followed suit. I acknowledge Government, police and social network companies’ growing involvement in the area (Queensland Government, Department of Education and Training, 2014). The speed of this action however will determine how effectively everyone is protected online.
Web sites for further reading
Social Media resources
Online Video resources
Kowalski, R. M., Limber, S. P., & Agatson, P. W. (2012). Cyber Bulling in the Digital Age (2nd ed.). West Sussex, UK: Wiley Blackwell.
McQuade III, S. C., Colt, J. P., & Meyer, N. B. (2009). Cyber Bullying Protecting kind & adults from bullies. Westport, CT: Praeger Publishing.
Willard, N. E. (2007). Cyberbullying and cyberthreats: Responding to the challenge of online social aggression, threats, and distress. Champaign, Ill: Research Press.
7 News (Producer) (2014, March 21). ‘Digital detox’ in fight against cyber bullying [Television broadcast]. Melbourne, VIC: Chanel 7.
News.com.au (2014, February). Anti-bullying campaigner says police need more training on cyber-bullying laws in wake of Charlotte Dawson’s death | News.com.au [Video file]. Retrieved from http://www.news.com.au/lifestyle/health/antibullying-campaigner-says-police-need-more-training-on-cyberbullying-laws-in-wake-of-charlotte-dawsons-death/story-fneuzlbd-1226836047300
Queensland Government, Department of Education and Training (2014, March 20). Website to tackle cyber bullying | Sunshine Coast Queensland | News Article. Retrieved March 26, 2014, from http://www.mysunshinecoast.com.au/articles/article-display/website-to-tackle-cyber-bullying,33596#.UzNyvdGKAuR
Wilson, P. (2014, March 26). Cyber bullying widespread, committee told – Story – NZ News – 3 News. Retrieved March 26, 2014, from http://www.3news.co.nz/Cyber-bullying-widespread-committee-told/tabid/423/articleID/337507/Default.aspx