In December 2018, ReachOut cautiously welcomed the Morrison Government’s announcement of an online safety package; however, said the greater priority was to tackle cyberbullying.

ReachOut CEO Ashley de Silva said the Government’s online safety package included a range of measures that will likely have a positive impact over the long term.

“The commitment to an online safety charter is a step in the right direction, and responds to ReachOut’s calls for new social media safety standards, which put the safety and wellbeing of users first,” said Mr de Silva.

“However the package does little to support young people and parents struggling with cyberbullying today.”

Each year, ReachOut undertakes extensive research with young people on issues such as cyberbullying. Its recent research showed that up to 380,000 young people were cyberbullied in Australia last year, and of those up to 162,000 turned to their parents for help.

The research also showed that many young people were so seriously impacted they sought medical and mental health support, with up to 64,000 seeking help from a mental health professional and up to 49,000 visiting their GP.

“The prevalence of this issue is why we’ve said cyberbullying is not just about online safety – it is now a public health concern. Greater emphasis on prevention among teenagers and providing emotional support for those impacted must remain a priority”, Mr de Silva said.

“Cyberbullying can be inescapable and is linked to some young people choosing to take their life.”

Earlier this month, ReachOut announced it had geared up its free parent coaching service to help families deal with the demand for support from cyberbullying.

ReachOut also provided a 5-Point Cyberbullying Action Plan to Government in March this year, which included a range of measures to address the harm cyberbullying is causing including: emotional support for those impacted; increased education and awareness; safer social media platforms; empowering the eSafety Commissioner to respond; and in the most serious cases, resourcing law enforcement to respond.

For support and to learn more about cyberbulling young people and their parents can visit ReachOut.com or ReachOut.com/Parents to access articles, tips, person stories and the Parents Coaching service.

ENDS

Media Contact 

Tessa Anderssen – 0411 708 587 / [email protected]

About ReachOut

ReachOut has been changing the way people access help since launching as the world’s first online mental health service over 20 years ago. Everything they create is based on the latest evidence and designed with experts, and young people or their parents. This is why ReachOut’s digital self-help tools are trusted, relevant and easy to use.

Available for free anytime and pretty much anywhere, ReachOut is accessed by 132,000 people in Australia every month. That’s more than 1.58 million each year.

 

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