Australia’s new cyber-bullying watchdog.

Australia, bullying, children, cyberbullying, law, legisation, socialmedia

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Social media is a key communication tool used by children to engage with each other and the outside world. Thousands of businesses use social media to provide a platform to interact with children and young people and to allow children to communicate with each other. The issue of cyber-bullying has long been a concern for children, parents and the operators of these social media platforms.

On 24 March 2015, the Federal Parliament of Australia passed the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act 2015 (the Act), with support from all major Australian political parties.

The Act seeks to enhance online safety for children through the establishment of a Children’s e-Safety Commissioner and the implementation of a complaints system to remove cyber-bullying material targeted at Australian children from social media sites, such as Facebook. Failure to comply with the Act can result in significant fines.

CYBER-BULLYING PROTECTION FOR SOCIAL MEDIA AND BLOG SITES

Social media is entrenched in modern life. Companies rely on it to attract, advertise, retain and communicate with their clients and the world at large. At an individual level, it a primary method of communication between people of all ages and particularly between children and young people. Social media takes many forms: from ubiquitous applications like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, to “in game” social forums that are a regular part of online gaming, to simple chat rooms, blogs and even websites that allow people to communicate with each other in “comments” sections.

In ‘first of its kind’ legislation passed by the Australian Federal Government, the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act 2015 requires all organisations that provide a platform for people to post communications on the internet to have specific child protection terms of use that prohibit cyber-bullying and provide a mechanism for complaints of cyber-bullying to be received and for offending material to be removed. The Act targets material targeted at a particular Australian child that would have the effect of seriously threatening, intimidating, harassing or humiliating that Australian Child (cyber-bullying material).

The Act establishes the office of a Children’s e-safety Commissioner, to administer a complaints system monitor and require organisations to remove social media posts consisting of cyber-bullying material, and can seek injunctions and levy fines.

What do you all think of this Act? Personally its a great concept, protecting the innocent is hugely important as well as eliminating bullying. However I do think it may be hard to monitor, therefore a lot of cases may be over looked or missed, which ideally limits its purpose.

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One thought on “Australia’s new cyber-bullying watchdog.

  1. Fantastic! So insightful. As a mother whose children have access to technology from a young age, it scares me to think of the things we need to protect them from in comparison to what my parents had to worry about for me.
    Hearing stories of children and teens killing themselves because of cyber bullying is such a devastating event, and the fear and pressure to protect it instills in us as parents is rising.

    Like

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