One third of cyberbullying cases involve threats to safety

In the six months to December, 32 per cent of cyberbullying complaints received by the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner involved specific threats to a child’s safety.

“It’s been a disturbing trend to see young people increasingly targeted through threatening cyberbullying behaviour,” says Children’s eSafety Commissioner, Julie Inman Grant.

“Our latest figures also show a growing number of complaints relating to boys who are being targeted by cyberbullies, accounting for 46 per cent of complaints in the last quarter—a 17 per cent increase over the same period the year before.”

October was the Office’s busiest month yet, with a record number of cyberbullying complaints contributing to a 46 per cent rise in the number of complaints since 1 July 2016, compared to the same period in 2015.

The Office continues striving to make the internet a safer place for young people, removing cyberbullying material in under 24 hours, on average.

“Through our close links with social media partners and counselling services, we help targets of cyberbullying get harmful material removed, and access to the support they need,” says Inman Grant.

Research findings reveal 43 per cent of teens aged 14 to 17 who have been cyberbullied experienced social exclusion as a result of being targeted.

In October, the Office also launched its youth-focussed initiative Rewrite Your Story, helping to raise awareness about its cyberbullying reporting function.

“It’s really positive that young people are being empowered through our educational resources to build their digital resilience and reach out to us,” says Inman Grant.

The Office continues to lead the way in promoting online safety for Australians, with its latest Quarterly Report showing that between October and December 2016 it:

  • Resolved 64 serious cyberbullying complaints
  • Referred over 1,700 young people to Kids Helpline for priority support
  • Dealt with over 1,400 online content complaints, and referred over 1,000 URLs containing child sexual abuse material to its international partners for removal
  • Reached over 21,000 children, parents, teachers and other Australians through Virtual Classrooms and Community Presentations.
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