From today, Australian children who experience serious cyberbullying on a social media service can seek support under the Federal Government’s newly established Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner.
Headed by Alastair MacGibbon, the Office will play a key role in helping guide those under 18 toward safe, enjoyable experiences online.
"Our goal is a clear one: create an online environment in which cyberbullying of children is truly unacceptable," said Commissioner MacGibbon.
"More than one in five children between the ages of 8 and 17 report cyberbullying experiences per year*, and just over 930,000 Australian children accessed social media sites in April this year alone** ,” he said. “It’s clear that regular social media engagement is now a normal part of a child’s life and children need strategies to become resilient digital citizens as well as a safety net for when things go wrong."
The Office is established under the Enhancing Online Safety for Children Act 2015. Under the new arrangements, social media companies remain the first port of call for children who want cyberbullying material taken down. If the material is not removed within 48 hours, they can come to the Office to complain.
“I see this as a great opportunity to work productively with flagship social media companies such as Facebook, Twitter, Google, Yahoo! and app-based services amongst others for the benefit of Australian children,” said the Commissioner.
“During this soft launch phase we welcome feedback from the public for continued developments and improvements to our services”.
For online safety information and resources, or to make a complaint about cyberbullying material or illegal online content, visit www.esafety.gov.au.
* Department of Communications. Research on youth exposure to, and management of, cyberbullying incidents in Australia, Part B: Cyberbullying incidents involving Australian minors, the nature of the incidents and how they are currently being dealt with. June 2014.
**Nielson Online Ratings, April 2015.