Menu

Education Today Logo


newsletter

Education Today Cover Browse Issue

Education about existing laws is needed to reduce cyberbullying – not new laws, experts say

News Image

It’s hard to know what to do with cyber bullies, the consequences of their actions are real and severe though.

But turning them into criminals probably isn’t advisable says a submission from a group of experts. What is required is a consolidation of approaches across the states and territories.

Presenting their submission to the Senate Inquiry on cyberbullying laws, Australian Universities Anti-bullying Research Alliance (AUARA), argued that criminalising children for cyberbullying would be counter-productive.

Specific laws to punish children and young people for cyberbullying are unnecessary and would not prevent the behavior; nor would they be feasible to police and enforce, according to AUARA, which is comprised of a group of internationally recognised experts on bullying and childhood aggression from the psychological, legal, and educational fields.

There is no need for a dedicated law, according to Professor Marilyn Campbell, a researcher at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) who recently released a book on cyberbullying. “The existing laws are adequate, just not well known in the community. Making another law will not automatically stop the behaviour,” she says.

Professor Phillip Slee, an expert in child and adolescent mental health at Flinders University, says punitive laws would lead to negative consequences for young people. “Criminalising young people and misbehaviour leads to school disengagement, academic failure and dropout, and ultimately involvement in the juvenile justice system,” he says.

The AUARA experts agree that other steps are needed to address bullying, “There needs to be harmonisation of laws across states and territories,” says Associate Professor Barbara Spears, an expert in bullying and social media at UniSA.

“We need a co-ordinated whole-of-government approach, addressing all forms of bullying, which connects the world-leading resources we have here in Australia, such as the e-Safety Commission, the National Safe Schools Framework and the evidence-based resources on the National Student Wellbeing Hub.”


15 Aug 2018 | National
Why Australian schools and universities need to act more like Amazon News Image

Knowing what students want and finding a way to give it to them is the only way progressive schools and universities will succeed in a highly competitive education market. Read More

14 Aug 2018 | Sydney
Students put Scott Morrison under the pump News Image

It's become a tradition at Trinity Grammar and Scott Morrison recently became the fifth sitting Treasurer to answer some tough questions from the school’s economists since the first Q&A in 1983. Read More

14 Aug 2018 | International
Teachers can be too strict News Image

A bit of noise and chaos should be tolerated in class if not encouraged to promote better concentration and, oddly, conduct says a US training program which has been vindicated by recent research. Read More

14 Aug 2018 | Queensland
Sheldon College Repertoire of Sound beats the competition News Image

Sheldon College were voted as National Champions and Place Winner for all ensemble prize categories entered at the 2018 Australian Percussion Eisteddfod recently. Read More

14 Aug 2018 | National
More women and girls in maths thanks to AMSI News Image

Established as a collaboration of Australia’s university mathematics departments and agencies Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute (AMSI) membership and global impact have grown. Read More