Dig­i­tal bul­ly­ing on the rise

Matamata Chronicle - - Out & About - STAFF RE­PORTERS

Hun­dreds of peo­ple have re­ported per­sonal harm caused by dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

On­line safety or­gan­i­sa­tion Net­safe has man­aged over 900 com­plaints of per­sonal harm caused by dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions since the launch of its on­line bul­ly­ing, abuse and ha­rass­ment ser­vice.

Net­safe was an­nounced as the agency to man­age com­plaints un­der the Harm­ful Dig­i­tal Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Act.

The Harm­ful Dig­i­tal Com­mu­ni­ca­tions Act was passed in 2015 to pro­vide a quick, ef­fi­cient and af­ford­able le­gal av­enue to get help for those re­ceiv­ing se­ri­ous or re­peated harm­ful dig­i­tal com­mu­ni­ca­tions.

Around 17 per cent of the com­plaints Net­safe has man­aged were from 10-15 year olds, 16 per cent were from16-21 year olds, 36 per cent from 22-40 year olds and 27 per cent from 41-64 year olds.

Over the past six months the not-for-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion has faced two key mis­con­cep­tions about the ser­vice.

Net­safe chief ex­ec­u­tive Martin Cocker said the agency is an ad­vo­cate for the com­plainant, when it is ac­tu­ally an in­de­pen­dent in­ter­me­di­ary. The sec­ond mis­con­cep­tion is that the ser­vice is be­ing used to sti­fle peo­ple’s rights.

‘‘Our role is to help both par­ties un­der­stand their rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties un­der the Act, and to help re­solve com­plaints with­out the need for cases to go through the district court.’’

‘‘Our role is to help both par­ties un­der­stand their rights and re­spon­si­bil­i­ties un­der the Act.’’

FILE PIC­TURE: HIGHWAYSTARZ 123RF

The emer­gence of so­cial me­dia has made the ef­fects of bul­ly­ing even more harshly felt.

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