Australian cyberbullying hits concerning level: Official
Canberra, Jan 23 (IANS) Online bullying among Australian children has reached alarming levels, the country’s e-safety commissioner warned on Monday.
The commissioner’s office said it investigated a total of 1,680 cyberbullying complaints and asked social media companies to remove defamatory content more than 500 times in the past 12 months.
Monday marks one year since the Online Safety Act came into force, giving the eSafety Commission more powers to prevent online harm.
Under the law, Commissioner Julie Inman Grant can issue cyberbullies with a notice requiring them to remove offensive content, stop their actions or apologize to victims.
Failure to comply may result in court injunctions or fines.
At the time, then Communications Minister Paul Fletcher announced the new laws would make the internet safer for all Australians by holding criminals accountable.
Despite the new powers, Grant said bullying complaints are expected to increase by 69 percent in 2022 in a “post-pandemic surge.”
“We are seeing the frequency and tone of this youth-driven cyberbullying content increase to a level of relevance,” he said in a statement.
In addition to investigating complaints, the commissioner’s office is also adapting to emerging technologies and improving security features for new companies.
“We have an opportunity to positively shape the technological landscape to reduce the potential for harm related to the metaverse, generative AI, and quantum environments, all of which are emerging in our future,” Grant said.
“As these technologies reach full maturity and saturation, this will enable eSafety to be a fast, forward-thinking regulator.”