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Cyber Bullying laws a good start but ...

Cyber Bullying laws a good start, but community still needs to make a stand

Youth development organisation, Youthline welcomes the proposed anti- cyber bullying laws to be introduced to Parliament later this year.

The proposals include making it an offence to send messages and post material online that is grossly offensive, indecent, obscene, menacing or knowingly false punishable by up to 3 months imprisonment or a $2000 fine .

Youthline’s National Spokesperson, Stephen Bell says having clear laws in place will be a positive step towards creating a safer environment for young people.

Having a law articulates an expectation – having clear expectations means we can build a strengths based environment for our young people which says cyber bullying is not ok and there will be consequences for anyone who doesn’t adhere to those expectations.”

Bell says the introduction of the proposed laws would be a huge step forward, but stresses that a community effort is needed to help maintain safe use of cyber forums.

“In order to challenge bullying, we need families, schools and communities that set clear expectations of safe relational behaviour, role model these and support the notion that it is ok to reach out for support.

The best advice we can give to parents if their child is experiencing cyber bullying, or any form of bullying is to help them develop a network of support by going with them to talk to a teacher or counsellor,” adds Bell.

Under the new legislation an approved agency would be set up as the first port of call for complaints, while serious complaints could be taken to the district court, which would be able to issue sanctions including take-down orders.

If you or someone you know is concerned about a cyber bullying situation Youthline is here to talk the experience through and look at alternatives to manage the situation safely.

Free phone: 0800 37 66 33

Txt: 234

For more information on Youthline’s activities check out www.youthline.co.nz

For more information on staying safe online visit www.netsafe.org.nz


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