IT Pro

New website allows youth to report cyber bullying at ACT libraries

A new pilot website launched this week allows young people to report cyber bullying in ACT libraries, making it easier for the offensive material to be taken off the internet.

Staff from 10 libraries are being trained to help victims complete the eSafe Spaces cyberbullying complaint forms to be assessed by the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner.

One in five Australian children aged between eight and 17 has experienced cyber bullying, according to research led by UNSW's Social Policy Research Centre.

The Children's eSafety Commissioner Alastair MacGibbon said these figures are unacceptable and hopes to make Canberra libraries both a digital and physical sanctuary against online harassment.

"There was a survey that the British released last week that showed LGBTI kids nominated libraries as their safe place against bullying, so they've always been that bastion of freedom and the ability to gain access to information," he said.

"We, as an office, try to create a better environment by dealing with complaints and getting rid of the threats that are targeted towards kids, so it's a really great partnership."

Advertisement

He hopes to roll the program out to 1500 libraries nationally if the six-month pilot is successful in Canberra.

Representing the Minister for Communications, Senator Zed Seselja said the collaboration between eSafe Spaces, Libraries ACT and the ALIA Australian Public Library Alliance is in line with the government's aim to protect children online.

"The more knowledge and skills our frontline are equipped with about the issue of cyber bullying, the better protected our children can be," Senator Seselja said.

Families are urged to use the eSafe Spaces program if their children have been sent material online that is threatening, harassing, humiliating or menacing.

If it is found to be having a serious impact on the child, the Office of the Children's eSafety will work with sites including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google+, Twitter, Flicker, Yahoo Answers, Yahoo Groups and Afk.fm, to have it removed.

On average, the post is taken down within 12 hours, Mr MacGibbon said.

"We also refer kids and their families to Kids Helpline and Parents Helpline and in the first two months of operation we referred over 600 children to counselling," he said.

To report cyber bullying directly to the Office of the Children's eSafety Commissioner, or for further information and advice, visit esafety.gov.au

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800

Advertisement