The Internet, mobile phones, and other technological innovations have become entrenched in Australian life. These technologies create far-reaching benefits for youth. Nevertheless, these technologies have also introduced a tranche of online bullying behaviours known as cyberbullying, adding to the longstanding challenges associated with traditional school bullying. Cyberbullying has been an identified issue since at least the early 2000s; however, the issue has gained greater attention as more Australian children use social media and communication technologies more frequently.
Cyberbullying can cause immense distress to young victims, including long term psychological and mental health damage, and in some cases suicide. Stopping this harmful behaviour has become a matter of high priority for authorities, and Australian schools in particular.
While adults can be cyberbullied, or engage in cyberbullying, the focus of this e-brief is on children. The paper outlines cyberbullying’s prevalence in Australia and its impact on individuals and schools. It discusses key government responses at the Commonwealth and State level, and international reviews of the effectiveness of anti-bullying programs.