Bullies Beware – You can no longer hide behind social media


Those using Facebook and Tinder, among many other social networking forums, are significantly exposed to the risk of mentally damaging harassment. In an age where privacy appears to be a forgotten concept, modern youth choose to share their day-to-day activities with an online audience. These posts are subject to the scrutiny of others, even if they were not a part of the intended audience, and therefore leaves the individual susceptible to abuse, often from complete strangers.

This abuse has become a major problem on social media, particularly for our youth, and until recently has gone relatively unpunished, creating a sense of invincibility for these perpetrators, and a feeling of helplessness for victims, within an online environment. In a recent case however, in the Downing Centre Local Court, a young man was found guilty of “Using a carriage service to menace, harass or cause offence” based on a series of derogatory comments towards a young woman on Facebook. The magistrate chose to create an analogy between this incident and a game of football, where one may deal with some criticism, or a “few bumps”, but would not consent to remarks as offensive as those made in this scenario, which were likened to a “savage right hook”.

Ultimately, the offender was sentenced to a 12 month good behaviour bond, with both the sentence, and several remarks made by the Magistrate facing a mixed reception by the public. Regardless of one’s opinion as to the penalty, it is crucial that there is now a precedent by which young victims of online harassment know they may be protected, and that potential perpetrators are aware that there are consequences for their offensive actions.

For more information on this case go to: http://www.abc.net.au/news/2016-07-29/internet-troll-zane-alchin-sentenced-over-tinder-profile-threat/7671674

Also, young people suffering adverse mental affects due to this kind of harassment can seek help at: https://www.headspace.org.au/