Why does this proposed legislation appear so soft? Because our Government knows all to well they will have no real legal authority to compel any international entity to act on such a legislative requirement. The response from organisations such as Twitter, Facebook and Instagram has always been, " We are not responsible for the actions of our users". And to a degree, I agree with that approach.
The Cyber Bullies of our world are the ones who should be targeted. However, I believe a much stronger onus must be accepted by these networks for the gutless activity that is occurring under their banner. Activity that seems so often to be simply ignored. So what is the answer? In my opinion, the onus must remain on the bully and action should be taken directly against them. Legislation needs to be introduced to have people held accountable for their actions.
Many people around the world have described Cyber Bullying as a modern day epidemic and to a degree, I am of a similar opinion. When speaking about our teens and pre-teens, Cyber Bullying is one of the leading concerns for parents and for kids themselves. Recent numbers coming out of the Australian Bureau of Statistics indicate that a stagering 43% of school aged children have experienced Cyber Bullying in some form.
This can vary from simple throw away comments online to a child being targeted in a long term campaign of harassment and abuse by one or more peers. Though the former is the most likely parents will encounter, it seems the later is becoming more and more common.
This week I received a call from a parent whose 13 year old daughter had been sent a "dick pick" by a 14 year old boy from the same school. Naturally the father was furious, so he rang the school and demanded action. This is a situation that faces so many schools and parents every day. But it is a situation that is extremely difficult to deal with on so many levels. The school is automatically stuck between a rock and a hard place. They are rightly concerned for the parent and for the welfare of the child the image was sent to. But what if the child who sent it denies it? What if it was sent out of school hours? What power does the school have to demand that child present their phone for inspection? Even if the school does have a mobile phone policy, taking a childs phone and looking through it without a parent present is fraught with danger. These are the questions and statements that continue to frustrate all parties involved in such matters.