New anti-bullying laws a victory for child safety

by Brett Henebery01 Jul 2015

Under the new laws which take effect today, the Children’s eSafety Commissioner will have the power to issue a notice “to a large social media service” requiring it to remove cyberbullying material targeted at an Australian child.
The statement, released yesterday by the Parliamentary secretary to the Minister for Communications, Paul Fletcher, said the commissioner will also have the power to issue a notice to a person who has posted cyberbullying material targeted at an Australian child, requiring the person to remove the material.
Fletcher said the changes were motivated by “big changes in children’s online behaviour” over the last few years.
“Today children use social media very extensively – often from the age of ten or younger,” Fletcher said.
“Many children have smartphones or other devices which give internet connectivity – meaning they are often using the internet in circumstances where there is no adult supervision.
Fletcher said the Coalition took a policy to enhance online safety for children to the 2013 election and is now delivering on that policy commitment.
Research has found that over a 12 month period, one in five children aged eight to seventeen are exposed to cyberbullying.
“The overwhelming message from the Australian public is that we must do more to protect Australian kids online – and that is what the Children’s eSafety Commissioner has been established to do.” Fletcher said.
Leading online safety expert Alastair MacGibbon has been appointed to the new role of Children’s eSafety Commissioner.