The Queensland Government will act on all 29 recommendations of an anti-cyberbullying taskforce and invest $3.5 million in new education programs and initiatives.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk launched the taskforce report, Adjust Our Settings: A community approach to address cyberbullying among children and young people in Queensland, and the government’s response on 15 October 2018.
Ms Palaszczuk said: “The clear message from the taskforce is there is no ‘one thing’ we can do to stop cyberbullies – we have to do EVERYTHING.”
Taskforce Chair Madonna King said reducing cyberbullying required a community-wide approach.
“It is not just the job of schools, who are often called upon to act,” she said in the report.
“Nor is it easy for parents, carers or community groups to navigate this issue, without some of the requisite skills. Our young have to be given the skills too. This is a task we all have to work on together.”
A number of taskforce recommendations advocated for more support for parents in areas including online skills training, strategies to deal with cyberbullying and childhood development.
The Queensland Government has committed to undertaking further work to identify the most effective ways to deliver and fund the programs, resources, training and strategies.
It will also commission “an independent review of the effectiveness of current processes to address reported incidents of cyberbullying in state and non-government schools. The review will consider the views of students, parents, schools and school authorities, and whether there is merit in establishing an independent dispute resolution body for complex cyberbullying matters unable to be resolved at school or system level.”
Other taskforce recommendations included:
- that all schools have “clear, transparent, readily accessible and easily understood policies and procedures to address cyberbullying
- that social media companies provide more visible and easily accessible information on how to report cyberbullying and public health information about its harms.
Queensland already has laws providing five-year jail terms for the worst cases of cyberbullying. The penalty increases to seven years where violence is involved.
According to the taskforce report, studies indicate up to 1 in 4 children and young people had experienced cyberbullying in the previous 12 months.
“The impact of bullying and cyberbullying among children and young people can be significant, and affects emotional wellbeing, capacity to learn, relationships and often the whole family. The adverse effects of bullying and cyberbullying on a young person’s mental health can persist into adulthood,” the report said.
Information and support services for children and families
- Lifeline | Phone: 13 11 14 (24 hours, 7 days a week) | Chat: www.lifeline.org.au/Get-Help/Online-Services/crisis-chat (7pm to midnight – Australian Eastern Standard Time – 7 days a week)
- beyondblue | Phone: 1300 22 4636 (24 hours, 7 days a week | Chat: www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support/get-immediate-support (3pm to midnight, 7 days a week)
- Kids Helpline | Phone: 1800 55 1800 (24 hours, 7 days a week) | Chat: www.kidshelpline.com.au/get-help/webchat-counselling (8am to midnight – Australian Eastern Standard Time – 7 days a week
- Parentline | Phone: 1300 301 300 (8am to 10pm, 7 days a week)
- Headspace | Phone: 1800 650 890 (24 hours, 7 days a week) | Group chat: www.eheadspace.org.au/get-help/eheadspace-group-chat-session/
- eSafety Commissioner | Phone: 1800 880 176 | Cyberbullying: www.esafety.gov.au/complaints-and-reporting/cyberbullying-complaints | Image-based abuse: www.esafety.gov.au/image-based-abuse/action/remove-images-video/report-to-us