Cyber bullying is a growing problem and a significant trigger for psychological distress. That’s why Safer Internet Day, on 7 February, is an opportunity to create safer online spaces.
According to the federal government’s eSafety Commissioner, this worldwide initiative is celebrating 20 years in 2023.
Almost half of children have been treated in a hurtful or nasty way online over the past year.
Thirty per cent of LGBTIQ+ Australians experience online hate speech – double the national average – as do 32 per cent of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
Current international research defines bullying as a subtype of violence, physical and/or psychological, that is intentional and systematic, and not provoked by the victim.
In addition, it is characterised by a relationship of dominion/submission, or asymmetric power relationship, characterised by an imbalance of power between the bully, who abuses his power, and the victim, who cannot stop the aggressions.
Cyberbullying can result in mental health issues, increased stress and anxiety, depression, acting out violently and low self-esteem. Cyberbullying can also result in long-lasting emotional effects, even if the bullying has stopped.
The eSafety Commissioner is calling on Australians to Connect. Reflect. Protect.
- Connect safely and with purpose – by keeping apps and devices secure and using social media in positive ways.
- Reflect before we act – by taking a moment to consider how what we do and say online may affect others.
- Protect ourselves and others by taking action – by telling family, friends or colleagues about eSafety and how we can help.