Rise in number of Aussie kids falling victim to cyberbullying
EXCLUSIVE: Children as young as 10 are being subjected to vicious online attacks by young cyber bullies who are creating fake social media accounts to taunt others.
Children’s eSafety Commissioner Alistair MacGibbon will today release a six-month report on the investigations conducted by his office, showing an alarming rise in the numbers of young people creating ‘impostor’ Facebook and Instagram accounts to send malicious or sexually inappropriate messages to others.
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Nightmare ... bullies are setting up false social media attacks to launch attacks in someone else’s name.Source:istock
The report shows young bullies are frequently stealing the identities of their classmates and setting up impostor accounts on popular social media sites.
They then use these accounts to launch cruel attacks on other students in someone else’s name.
“It is almost like a double violation,” Mr MacGibbon said.
“These accounts may not only damage the reputation of the child who has had their identity misused, but also harms others who are targeted by the cyber bullying coming from the account,” he said.
Fake accounts have been used to publicly ‘out’ teens who are suspected, for whatever reason by the bully, to be gay.
They have also been used to send violent threats and encourage others to self-harm or suicide, or to attack teenage girls for their sexuality.
“We are seeing complaints from kids as young as ten, but the most targeted age is that tween period from, 12-14,” Mr MacGibbon said.
Scary ... one mother says her 11-year-old daughter was trolled on Instagram.Source:News Limited
One mother, who spoke to News Corp Australia on the condition of anonymity, said her 11-year-old daughter had her Instagram account hacked, and the hacker sent hateful messages to all of her friends online.
“She was crying all the time, she felt unsafe, no child should be going through that,” he mum said.
After contacting the eSafety Commissioner’s office, the mum said the material was promptly taken down.
The six monthly report shows 92 cyber-bullying cases were resolved by the Commission so swiftly the offensive material was taken down from a social media site within eight hours.
The commission also referred more than 2,500 young people to Kids Helpline for further counselling.
Kids Helpline counselling centre manager Tony Fitzgerald said the service was getting multiple calls a day about cyber bullying.
“It can be really distressing for kids, it is ever present and it doesn’t stop when they get home from school,” Mr Fitzgerald said.
“It can send kids into a spiral of depression and anxiety and that can have serious outcomes,” he said.
*** If you or your child is experiencing cyber bullying visit www.esafety.gov.au