The Australian federal government is working to legislate penalties to protect children from cyber bullying. The “jury is still out,” as authorities wrestle over exactly what the penalties will be. Most stakeholders suggest enforcing civil rather than criminal penalties.
The government representatives are still in the early phases of the process, and procedures must still be established for cyber bullying victims to file complaints against attackers.
There are currently criminal laws available to enforce cyber bullying, including the possibility that offenders would be fined, or even sent to jail for three months. But it’s suggested that the new legislation follow that of New Zealand’s with its broad range of penalties for minors, including counseling, restorative justice, and community service.
In the meantime, Internet companies, like Facebook, Twitter and Google, say it would be too difficult for them to remove harmful content. So, there’s still much work to be done to prevent cyber bullying.
As always, parents should monitor their children’s online activities and educate them about what to do if they believe they are victims of cyber bullying.