Letters: Anti-bullying tactics need more attention

MORE than one in three Australian school students who were bullied reported it happened online and it’s time global tech giants and governments do more to tackle it.

In March, ReachOut released research that showed Australian parents were more worried about their children using social media and technology than drugs, alcohol and smoking and yet no strong action has been taken.

We urge new Prime Minister Scott Morrison to make cyberbullying a priority and ensure more is done to tackle it, acting on the promise made by Malcolm Turnbull in January this year.

This includes new industry safety standards for technology, similar to cars, that put the safety and wellbeing of users front and centre.

This is as much about future proofing Australia for the next wave of new technology as it is about dealing with platforms and products that are currently in the market.

We need to draw a line in the sand and send the message that the current approach of tech companies releasing new technology and thinking about the consequences later is no longer acceptable.

Global tech giants are worth more than $1 trillion and have an obligation to do more to fund solutions that prevent and protect users against cyberbullying, particularly with the statistics showing that current efforts are not having an impact.

If global tech giants won’t make their products safer then government will have to step in and do it for them.

Almost every young person in Australia uses technology, whether that’s social media, chat apps or online games, like Fortnite.

Because of this, cyber bullies have the key to our front door and yet there’s little pressure on the tech giants to do anything about it.

If someone physically entered our homes and bullied our children, there would be national outrage and a demand for action.

The Australian Government has shown that it’s willing to put energy providers on notice to demand lower electricity prices, so surely they can do the same for global tech giants to protect our children online.

Jono Nicholas

ReachOut CEO

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