eSafety Australia launched Safer Internet Day on February 6, to address online abuse and cyber bullying as the nationwide conversation continues on how to tackle the issue.
The Safer Internet Day launch took place at Parliament House with the Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull acknowledging that the rapid change in the way we connect digitally has also increased the dangers of online abuse.
“The combination of near universal connectivity and the smart phone has been remarkable and offered up enormous opportunities… But what it has done, is it has given the opportunity for bullying to be amplified,” said Mr Turnbull.
With a push from the Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk, the Federal Government has confirmed that cyberbullying will be on the agenda at the next Council of Australian Governments (COAG) meeting on February 9.
This comes a month after the tragic death of 14 year old Amy ‘Dolly’ Everett who took her own life after enduring severe cyber bullying.
“I’ll expose you to everyone.”
“I know your secret.”
“What will your friends think when they find out the truth?”
“You know no one likes you right?”
“What a loser.”
“Everybody hates you.”
— UNICEF (@UNICEF) February 6, 2018
University of Queensland Professor and founder of the Positive Parenting Program told SBS that tackling this issue had to be a collective effort by not just the government but parents as well.
“I think it’s important that we raise awareness in the community that this is a shared responsibility,” said Professor Sanders.
This shared responsibility also includes church leaders and digital ministry advocators.
The Uniting Mission and Education (UME) offers Ethical Ministry refreshers for Online Communication including Social Media and email. (Find out more about UME courses).
Pulse Consultant Bradon French said that it’s important for people within the church to be examples of how to respectfully engage in dialogue not just face-to—face but online as well.
“Christian leaders can model a respectful and engaged digital presence.”
“Helping young people understand their digital footprint and personal agency is essential,” said Bradon who went on to say that instead of retreating from technology, “we should be equipping young people to safely navigate an ever-changing landscape.”
The Safer Internet Day for 2018 message is ‘Create, connect and share respect: A better internet starts with you.’
Safer Internet Day is celebrated in 130 countries worldwide and is coordinated by the ISAFE/INHOPE network with the support of the national European Safer Internet Centres and the European Commission.
If you or someone you know may be at risk of suicide please call these hotlines; Lifeline (13 11 14); Suicide Call Back Service (1300 659 467); Kids Helpline (1800 55 1800) or see a doctor.
This article was previously published at Insights Magazine.