Join me to stop cy­ber bul­ly­ing!

Whangarei Report - - OPINION - By Whangarei MP DR SHANE RETI

Cy­ber bul­ly­ing is a real thing, with real con­se­quences, and we need to take it se­ri­ously.

We re­cently learnt that Kiwi kids are among the worst af­fected by cy­ber bul­ly­ing in the world. In New Zealand, al­most ev­ery sec­ond par­ent or care­giver knew of a child who had been cy­ber bul­lied be­fore turn­ing 18 years.

The Ip­sos Global Ad­vi­sor Cy­ber­bul­ly­ing Study found that 65 per cent of the bul­ly­ing takes place on so­cial me­dia sites, and it is es­ti­mated that 70 per cent of the at­tacks come from within the vic­tim's class­mates. In that same study, 81 per cent of New Zealan­ders be­lieve that to ad­dress this is­sue we need to give it spe­cial at­ten­tion and new strate­gies for the fu­ture.

When I asked what safety mech­a­nisms are in place to ad­dress this, both the Min­is­ter of Jus­tice, and the Min­is­ter of Ed­u­ca­tion di­rected me to­wards Net­safe. Net­safe is a non-profit or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vid­ing on­line safety help, sup­port, ex­per­tise and ed­u­ca­tion. They are com­mit­ted to safe on­line prac­tices and are free to ac­cess.

I am im­pressed by the work that Net­safe does na­tion­ally, but I also feel there is more we can do here lo­cally. It is es­sen­tial that we ad­dress bul­ly­ing and cy­ber bul­ly­ing at in­di­vid­ual, peer, school and com­mu­nity lev­els.

Cy­ber Smart Week takes place this year from Oc­to­ber 8 to 12. This pro­vides a timely op­por­tu­nity to come to­gether and dis­cuss ways that we can ad­dress cy­ber at­tacks and keep peo­ple safe while they're on­line. If you have been cy­ber bul­lied, if you are in­ter­ested in de­vel­op­ing ideas on how we can ad­dress the is­sue, or if you are pas­sion­ate about safe in­ter­net prac­tices, come down to my of­fice!

On Mon­day I held a pub­lic fo­rum where, as a group, we dis­cussed the dev­as­tat­ing ef­fects that can oc­cur as the re­sult of cy­ber bul­ly­ing, and the tools that we can use to mit­i­gate them.

I be­lieve there is great power in com­mu­nity driven ini­tia­tives and I would be pleased to sup­port your work and your ideas on how to keep our com­mu­nity safe.

Keep an eye out on my Face­book page for more de­tails.

Net­safe is a non­profit or­gan­i­sa­tion pro­vid­ing on­line safety help, sup­port, ex­per­tise and ed­u­ca­tion. They are com­mit­ted to safe on­line prac­tices and ’

are free to ac­cess.

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