Nearly a quarter of all cyberbullying complaints received by Australia’s eSafety Commission originated in Queensland.
The Commission found cyberbullying in Australia was at a record high, with a 30% spike in complaints over a year.
Social media was again the main culprit, with Instagram becoming the epicentre for hate, responsible for 43% of complaints compared with Facebook, which was responsible for 27%.
One in five young people reported to the Commission that they had been the target of online bullying, with many under 13 years of age.
Students aren’t the only ones facing cyberbullying attacks, with teachers also reporting abuse from frustrated parents.
In a submission to the Premier’s Anti-cyberbullying Taskforce, the Queensland Teachers Union claimed parents frequently posted aggressive comments on social media groups and the situation had now become a “serious workplace health and safety issue”.
Australian Medical Association Board Member, Dr Bav Manoharan, said the medical profession didn’t delineate between bullying and cyberbullying in terms of the effects it has on a child’s mental health.
“The difference between traditional schoolyard bulling is that for boys it tended to be physical, but with females it was always more psychological and social,” Dr Manoharan said.
“With cyberbullying, we tend to see more of that social and psychological aspect in both genders and it is more about threat and humiliation.”
Dr Manoharan said more needed to be done in the education space for both parents and teachers to try and eliminate cyberbullying.
“Cyberbullying can lead to social isolation which affects learning and can lead to depression, anxiety and, in extreme cases, suicide,” he said.
“Ideally, we would like to see a situation where none of that happens, but getting to that stage requires a multi-faceted approach.
“It’s not as easy as going up to kids and saying don’t bully – it is about instilling good behaviours online and making sure parents and teachers are aware of children’s cyber presence in school and at home.”
If you or anyone you know needs help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.