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Australian cyberbullying expert in New Zealand this week

Australian cyberbullying expert in New Zealand this week

12 May 2014

Psychologist Dr Michael Carr-Gregg loves gadgets, but has strong views about youngsters on Facebook.

“This is a huge problem because I don’t think 12 year olds have the psychological, emotional or social maturity to manage their digital footprint. While they’re online, their reputations are being jeopardised. I think parents must understand that they’re creating the perfect digital storm: an immature brain whose unique characteristic is an inability to predict the consequence of your actions, combined with this technology which is in the moment and of the moment."

"The irony is that if you do it properly at 13, and you do set limits and boundaries, the research tells us that social networking like Facebook is massively beneficial. It builds resilience, reduces depression, reduces anxiety and has some significant benefits. So it is really about how one approaches this, and the age at which they start.”

In Australia, Carr-Gregg is a founding member of the National Centre Against Bullying and chairs their cybersafety committee. In October 2010, he was appointed as the Queensland government's official advisor on cybersafety. He is an author of eight books and his latest, Beyond Cyberbullying aims to guide parents in the digital age.

“Bullying online is really just a new setting for an old issue - it's the same wine in a different glass. But what’s crucial is that parents need to know how to protect their kids from cyberbullying. There are some very simple strategies, which I’ve talked about in my book, that are proven over time to work very well."

"Not responding to the bully is one of the most significant things you can do. Saving the evidence, making sure you block the person who is doing it to you and reporting them. It’s so very straightforward, and yet I have not been to a school in Australia or in Singapore where this is not a huge issue which is incredibly time consuming for school administrators."

“What we have to do is teach kids to use programs in a safe way. Instagram and Snapchat, for example, are obviously very popular with young people, but there are inherent dangers in taking photographs of yourself and putting them online. You think they will disappear in 30 seconds, but in fact they may end up on a porn site in Vladivostok within an hour of you posting it."

"But that can be remedied with good supervision and good education. Cybersafety education from an early age should be compulsory in every single primary school,” Carr-Gregg says.

On Thursday 15 May at 7:30 p.m, Dr Michael Carr-Gregg will be speaking on The five greatest challenges for parents in 2014, at The Parenting Place, 300 Great South Rd, Greenlane, Auckland.

For details and to book tickets, visit, or call 0800 53 56 59.


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