Guest Post by Nikki Mitchell, Director of WA Child Safety Services

According to the Office of the eSafety Commissioner about one in every five Australian children has been bullied online.  Cyberbullying can have serious consequences that reach far beyond what’s on a screen.

In times gone by a child might be bullied at school and return home to a place where the bullying stops. Today, we hear from many young people that they sleep with mobile phones or iPads in their bedrooms where bullying persists throughout the night.

The online environment also provides a platform for children and young people to be bullied by potentially hundreds (or more) individuals or groups.  The effect of this relentless and prolific bullying can be devastating for the victim, families, bystanders and even those engaging in the bullying behaviour.

So, what can we do about cyberbullying?

Your child will be using online technology for the rest of their lives. It’s never too early to begin talking about how to stay safe when using technology:

  1. Keep communication open with your child and let them know they can talk with you about anything, no matter what it is.
  2. Educate yourself and your child about cyber safety and cyberbullying.
  3. Encourage respect for others in the online environment just as we do in the ‘real’ world.
  4. Role model positive digital citizenship.
  5. Have a plan for cyberbullying:  “Stop, Tell, Block, (and if required) Report”.
WA Child Safety Services (WACSS) is a certified provider of online safety programs through the Office of the eSafety Commissioner.  WACSS provides cyber safety programs for parents/carers, schools, and children/ young people.  Check out our Facebook page for program dates, up-to-date information and practical tips.