What is cyber bullying?
People make comments on social media that they may not say to someone face to face. These comments on social media can be just as damaging as any other form of bullying.
Cyber-bullying can be hurtful and in some circumstances it can also be a criminal act.
Cyber-bullying can take many forms
- Abusive texts, on-line posts and emails
- Imitating others on line using fake profile and other methods
- Spreading rumours and telling lies on-line
- Making hurtful comments
- Making threats or comments designed to intimidate on-line
- Repeated unwanted messages being sent to you
- People using your account to send fake posts
- People sending photos or videos of you to others to embarrass or humiliate you
- Excluding others on-line
What action can you take?
- Block the person who is doing the bullying
- Keep a record of threatening or intimidating messages
- Contact police about any threatening or intimidating messages
- Report the person to the social media platform
- Don’t reply to bullies – that’s what they want
- Check your privacy settings
- Talk to someone you trust about the situation
What can police do?
If someone is threatening bullying or harassing you on-line, police want to know about it. You don’t have to put up with it and police can take action.
On-line bullies think they can be anonymous but police can track them down. That’s why it is important to inform police about what’s happening.
While there is no specific legislation in Australia that is specifically for cyber-bullying, there are existing laws police can use to arrest and charge perpetrators.
What laws can help police punish cyber-bullies?
There is no specific offence for Cyber Bullying in NSW, however the person may commit offences under the Commonwealth Criminal Code, 1955. Division 474, subdivision C. Telecommunications Offences.
- The Australian Media and Communications Authority has an excellent website called cybersmart which carries advice for children, parents and schools. http://www.cybersmart.gov.au
- The NSW Department of Education also offers useful advice.