Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner holds forum on cyber bullying in Launceston

With almost 20 per cent of Australian young people being bullied online, parents and teachers are coming together to make the online world a safer place. 

SAFETY: Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner senior trainer Greg Gebhart holding a forum on how to prevent cyber bullying. Picture: Scott Gelston

SAFETY: Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner senior trainer Greg Gebhart holding a forum on how to prevent cyber bullying. Picture: Scott Gelston

The Children’s eSafety Workshop was held in Launceston on Thursday and aimed to teach educators about technology trends and provide them with a greater awareness of cyber security.

In the quarter ending in September this year, there was a 75 per cent rise in the number of serious cyber bullying complaints made to the Office of the Children’s eSafety Commissioner compared to the previous year. 

The office’s senior trainer Greg Gebhart held the Launceston session and said the threat of cyber bullying was increasing. 

“It’s certainly one of the things that parents and schools will have to deal with and probably one of the main things in the cyber world,” Mr Gebhart said.

“We’ve had face-to-face bullying happening for a long time but I think now what we’re getting is cyber components. 

“A lot of bullying is face-to-face but then moves to the digital world as well.” 

Mr Gebhart said one of the major changes he has seen over the years was the age of the children who were being bullied online.

“Children have got access to technology at a much younger age now,” he said.

“Four years ago, we didn’t have eight year olds with iPads, so young people now have a lot more access to online content.”

Since July this year, complaints to the office that involved intimate images had increased and it had received 3000 online content complaints.

Mr Gebhart said parents needed to be aware that cyber bullying does occur and could happen to their child. 

“With young kids, one of the most important things is the location of the computer and not having it there when children are asleep,” he said.

“We also need to start conversations with children really early and starting talking about behaviours.” 

For further information or to make a complaint about cyber bullying or illegal online content, visit www.esafety.gov.au.

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