News

Victim speaks out as concerns reignite about cyber bullying

WHILE it takes no courage to act brave behind the keyboard, cyber bullying has very tangible consequences.

In the wake of Charlotte Dawson's death last weekend, concerns have been reignited over the safety of internet users of all ages and backgrounds.

It is a permeating past-time, where a web of communication infects every aspect of our lives - the borderless internet.

>> Act of bullying more cowardly now they can hide online

By allowing users to mask themselves behind false identities, pseudonyms and anonymity, power is given to online trolls.

Ally Pickering was the victim of relentless bullying online and via text message late last year.

It is so difficult to remind yourself that responding to the attacks only gives them power.

The 17-year-old student, who felt she could not escape her online attackers, is now an advocate for how to combat online bullies, beginning with a call to boycott Facebook page Gladstone Open Discussion.

"I want people to know that cyber bullying is unfortunately something we all have to equip ourselves against now, and G.O.D is a good example of daily cyber-bullying around here," she said.

"It's easy to say, 'Just turn it off', but as a teenager you feel further removed from your friends and classmates that way."

Miss Pickering said the majority of attacks she endured were from sources unknown, calling for her to "drown herself", "lock yourself in the corridor of the endless third dimension" and simple, belligerent insults such as "filthy s***".

"It is so difficult to remind yourself that responding to the attacks only gives them power," she said.

"It sounds cliche, but these are leeches. No guts, just blood suckers feeding off the emotional energy of others."

Miss Pickering fears for the future of online safety, saying she wished she had grown up in a time without invasive technology surrounding her, and believes the problem will only get worse.

After receiving counselling for depression and conflict management, the Tannum Sands resident says she realises the triviality of cyber bullying, and only wishes the late Charlotte Dawson had received the same support.

"There is a very strong message through her death. She was 30 years older than me, but maturity did not protect her."

Facts

Cyber bullying is a crime under Queensland and/or national legislation when:

  • Using a phone or the internet to make threats, harass or offend
  • Stalking has occurred
  • Internet accounts are accessed without permission
  • Defamatory claims have been made
  • A post encourages suicide

Individuals, parents and kids can inform themselves about legal rights, dangers and support available at thinkuknow.org.au

Guarding your privacy online a must - and don't join every argument

WE all value our physical privacy.

The underlying message for online safety is to remain consistent, and guard the privacy of your online presence with the same vigilance.

In light of recent circumstances, an online petition is circling the internet to create positive change in enforcing tougher cyber bullying legislation - dubbed Charlotte's Law.

Those who maintain a regular online presence need to do so with a thick skin, and a sensibility not to join every argument they are invited to.

Alfonso Canendo, a regular contributor on Gladstone Open Discussion,  says social media can have adverse implications.

"Social media can be extremely powerful as a means to influence people to thought and action as in social movements, or it can be light as fluff and (a) meaningless waste of time," he said.

"Even adults can be easily offended, like in the schoolyard, on social media. Hardcore trolling can easily cross the line and police should be called. Social media can be a conduit that can sway the masses good or bad."

  • Record the evidence. Take screenshots, or print outs with documented dates and times. This will strengthen a case if taken to the police;
  • Report it to the website or phone company;
  • Block the bully;
  • Talk to someone you know or call Lifeline 131 114.

Topics:  charlotte dawson, cyber bullying, gladstone, social media




Glitz and glamour at the Gladstone charity ball

Alfredo di Diminico and Clare Wootton at the 2015 PCYC Charity Ball.

It's Gladstone PCYC's night of nights.

Five things you need to know today

Stay up to date and check out these five things

Latest deals and offers

Kooza takes circus-goers back to Cirque Du Soleil's roots

The high wire act as featured in Cirque Du Soleil's Kooza.

NEW show puts the skills of the performers front and centre.

Branson "amazed" he's still alive after cycling crash

Branson saw "his life flash before my eyes" during a bike crash

Reality TV show "turned our special day into a joke"

UNHAPPY: Maryborough couple Emma and Steven Dilliway who star on Australia's Cheapest Wedding and are not happy with the outcome.

Reality television helped turn this wedding into an internet joke

Glitz and glamour at the Gladstone charity ball

Alfredo di Diminico and Clare Wootton at the 2015 PCYC Charity Ball.

It's Gladstone PCYC's night of nights.

John Krasinski has better sex now he's in good shape

John Krasinski says there's at least one good reason to get jacked

Kanye West gets 'free reign' at VMAs

Kanye West has been let off the leash for the VMAs

REVEALED: Pat Rafter's $18m Coast house on the market

Check out the photos of the Coast's most expensive property for sale

The "correction we had to have" in Gladstone's rentals

UPWARD MARCH: The rental vacancy rate in Gladstone has improved for the first time in more than a year, providing a confidence boost in the market.

Vacancy rates improve with signs that things are getting betterF

ISLAND FOR SALE: Cheap Fraser Coast island drops price again

Suna Island in the Great Sandy Strait will be auctioned by Ray White Hervey Bay on Saturday morning.

This is the cheapest island you will find for sale in Australia

How a family home can fit on a 250sq m block

This is what you can build on 250m2.

Here's the floor plan of a home built on 250sq m

$100m plan for Curtis Island 'world class' luxury resort

$100 million resort: Top views at Turtle Street at Curtis Island.

"At the moment we think it meets all the town planning approvals.”

Gladstone landlords in trouble with Bechtel job losses

"If a big project was announced tomorrow I wouldn't want to see it"