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Cyber-bullying cases spike during coronavirus isolation

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With much of the country hopping online to escape isolation boredom, the eSafety Commissioner has received a 40 per cent increase in reports of cyber-bullying.

From online classes to online parties, children and teenagers are spending more time on the internet during the coronavirus than ever before.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman-Grant tells Mark Levy the severity of bullying has increased too, with 15 per cent of cases involving direct threats of harm.

She recommends parents make sure their kids are still spending as much structured time away from the screen as possible.

“Make sure that when they have free device time, or they’re communicating with friends, that they’re doing it in open areas of the house.”

However, children aren’t the only ones at risk, Ms Inman-Grant says she’s now receiving more reports of adult cyber abuse than cyber-bullying of youth.

Mark Levy argues such “keyboard cowards” should be criminally punished, but the eSafety Commissioner says it’s not a complete solution.

Though the government is seeking to extend the eSafety Commissioner’s powers, “we were set up as a safety net – we’re not going to war with the internet, so to speak,” she says.

“I don’t think this is a problem we’re going to arrest our way out of.

“It’s pervasive and invasive, and that’s what makes it so damaging.”

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Image: Getty