Legislation has updated their status

Freedom of speech is a loose term in our society today, where we see people believe that their actions online towards others is of their right to say whatever they feel. We have now got to the stage where governments and corporations have had to get involved to mediate the situation as it is affecting too many lives. Some people feel as it is a breach of privacy, but honestly, where did the saying; “If you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all” go?

The awkwardness of the situation is the age of the internet and social media, and the people putting through legislation on cyber-bullying are at the age where they may not be affected by the issue. This is where we learnt by fire, seeing young people taken by these acts and the struggle we have gone through to see change, not on local levels, but national and international to see a fight around the world.

Just like bullying at schools and workplaces, cyber-bullying in various acts is now a criminal offence in Australia. We have the Criminal Code Act which means anyone causing offence, harassment, stalking and menace over social media could see up to three-years imprisonment and a fine of more than $30,000.

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Further push for criminal action against bullying

What needs to be understood is your rights as not all cyber-bullying can be deemed as criminal. Social media pages can help you in the fight against bullies by report systems or even through direct contact with their anti-bullying and complaint services to have comments and images taken away or users banned. In cases of defamation, some people have gone to lengths of creating websites to bully others, this is a criminal offence and the website can be shut down and the offender can serve a jail sentence. Service providers like Telstra and Optus have been known to cancel and ban communication services of offenders and report all criminal behaviour to police.

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Some users have created websites just to attack others

Schools have addressed the issue of cyber-bullying and are teaching kids as a common practice to understand what is online and the ethically way to approach social media. Most schools ban phone use for productivity, but understand it is being used outside of schools and have measurements in place if certain children have issues online. A recent TV show on the streaming service Netflix has addressed the issue of cyber-bullying at school. Thirteen Reasons Why has been more controversial than many other TV shows in recent times as it addressed teenage suicide. Schools have had to ban the viewing of the show by contacting parents and asking for supervision when it comes to streaming content through the service.

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Schools cracking down on cyber-bullying to help prevent teen suicide

Where do we go from here, what do we do if we have all this legislation, but the problem persists?

I believe if we are more on top of the bullying, we can bring it down.

To remember what can be consider as a criminal offence:

  • Using the internet to harass in an offensive way.
  • Threaten.
  • Stalking.
  • Accessing accounts without permission.
  • Defamation.
  • Encouraging suicide.

 

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Written by Nathan Biddle

Nathan is a design, advertising and social media student at the University of Sunshine Coast. When not studying full-time, Nathan works part-time at Snowcentral, where he looks after social media and blogging for the snow store. He also interns with Australia University Sport as the Creative Lead to the Marketing Department.

 

 

 

 

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Humanity has added you to their group

When it comes to the negative things in our lives, what we need is support. If you think about the last time you were in a bad place in your life, and you thought nothing could help, your friends and family are usually the ones to help save you. If you think about social media, it should be a large-scale version of family and friends that you stay connected to 24/7. This makes social media a powerful tool of love and support, which is the essence of the fight against cyber-bullying.

If we think back to the days before social media, what did we do if we were bullied? Most people would attempt to ignore, maybe report the situation to a superior and talk to someone who understands. Fast forward to 2017 and what has changed? There are more platforms for bullies to use, which means there are more platforms for anti-bullying campaigners to use.

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Delaney Henderson – Facebook

In the case of Daisy Coleman, her assault was like Audrie Pott’s, and she got to the point where she attempted suicide multiple times. Before she ended it all, she received a message on Facebook. Delaney Henderson, another survivor of abuse, who lived on the other side of the country messaged Daisy and they began talking about their past, present and future. Since that act of kindness and support, Delaney and Daisy have now helped countless others on the fight against bullying, spreading awareness through social media and visiting schools and community meetings.

Companies have also taken to the fight against cyber-bullying. A new feature released last year by Instagram saw users able to change their settings to disable comments on posts. This is great for people wanting to post pictures and videos publicly without negative comments, and this change has had good reception from the community. Facebook has also helped with the fight against bullying, the platform being one of the most used in the world. BeBold: Stop Bullying Canada was started by Facebook, one of the first big steps the company took to fight bullying head on by traveling around Canada meeting in cities to start the conversation, and incite the solutions. Twitter has also got on the bandwagon and decided they have the power to ban users dependent on their 140 characters.

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Twitter user ban silences bullying

We are wanting to change the attitude of users online, and these changes have seen a social shift where trolls are being attacked for their negative comments. There is a realisation that one must come to where you cannot say whatever you wish online, and we are finally seeing the support from the community on the various social platforms.

It has taken time, and it has taken lives, but we have now started to see change. The positivity and kindness of others are putting an end to bullying. This is from the support of communities on and offline, and the developers of these platforms getting actively involved to find solutions to these terrible offences.

If you’d like to join the fight, start here.

 

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Written by Nathan Biddle

Nathan is a design, advertising and social media student at the University of Sunshine Coast. When not studying full-time, Nathan works part-time at Snowcentral, where he looks after social media and blogging for the snow store. He also interns with Australia University Sport as the Creative Lead to the Marketing Department.

Bullying sent you a message

I was bullied in primary school, but at least I had the feeling of knowing there is a family at home who loves me, and a place I can escape from the harsh, cruel world.

We have all been bullied at some point in our life, whether it be at school or at the workplace, even down the street. Until recent years, we have seen a social shift of the younger generation communicating online, which has created another domain where people can be bullied.

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Computer and mobile are most common mediums of cyber bullying (Source: http://www.pexels.com)

This comes into light where another high-school student from Sydney was sexual assaulted while drunk, the act was filmed then put to social media for all to see.

The introduction of social media has been a positive tool to help communicate and bring people together, but sometimes we have seen it used as an engine of ill intent. The feeling of when people could escape the bullies of the world by going to their home, have now found their personal space being invaded by them. Where can you escape to? When will it end?

On September 12, 2012, 15-year-old high school student Audrie Pott committed suicide after she was sexual assaulted eight days earlier. Social media and bullying played a huge role in her death. Audrie was drunk with a few friends at a party on September 3, 2012. She was too drunk to communicate when three boys from her school sexually assaulted her.

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Audrie Pott (Source: blog.audriepottfoundation.com)

During this time, video content of the assault was captured and shared around school and social media in the following days. Audrie couldn’t remember what had happened and attempted to ask the boys what had happened, in which they didn’t reply of let her know. After a couple of days, she found out from other people on social media by negative messages, and even bullying at school. When she felt like she couldn’t escape, she decided to end her life.

It is sad to talk about these things, but, the truth is Audrie Pott’s story is one of many cases in which social media was used as a bullying medium today. Statistics from Cyberbullying.org show at least 15% of students were bullied last year, and this number has been rising since previous years. These figures are troubling, but what can we do to help?

Some people still don’t understand that what gets posted online, is there forever. No matter if you try to delete any trace of it, chances are it is still there.

Cyber bullying is most engaged on mobile phones and this is mainly because it is the easiest device to access constantly. We must be aware of signs of cyberbullying, some of which are:

  • Verbal harm through messaging.
  • Sharing your private information or graphic content without consent.
  • Hacking or copying profiles.

If you know someone suffering from bullying online:

  • Reassure them they are not alone.
  • Help them contact their school or workplace to help correct the issue.
  • If required, get the Police involved, Cyber bullying is a crime.
  • All social media services and online forums have contacts to report these issues.

We want to hear your story, let us know if you have been bullied online?

1796679_10203034355925052_840466159_nWritten by Nathan Biddle

Nathan is a design, advertising and social media student at the University of Sunshine Coast. When not studying full-time, Nathan works part-time at Snowcentral, where he looks after social media and blogging for the snow store. He also interns with Australia University Sport as the Creative Lead to the Marketing Department.