Computer Crime Research Center


Crackdown on kid's cyber crime

Date: February 03, 2008
By: Vikki Campion

CYBER crime targeting children will be monitored more closely from today under a Federal Government plan to combat digital bullying.

Harassment on mobile phones and internet chatrooms has soared as more and more young people access the internet.

Almost 85 per cent of teenagers use chatrooms daily, 59 per cent of children have a mobile phone and more than 30 per cent of eight-year-olds began accessing the internet by the time they were five.

But technology has enabled bullies to virtually prey on the vulnerable children.

Dr Judith Slocombe, the CEO of Australia's national centre against bullying, the Alannah and Madeline Foundation, said the Telstra Foundation-funded program was vital to slash anti-social cyber behaviour, ranging from bullying to internet addiction and identity theft.

It will provide grants starting from $75,000 per year over three years and will ask children, teenagers, parents and the community for ways to curb online and mobile phone bullying.

Dr Slocombe, a mother of nine and a Federal Government cyber safety advisory group member, said children were using computers and phones at a younger age but vital strategies to protect them needed to be developed.

"My oldest, who is 28-years-old, didn't get a computer until high school while the youngest (11) has been using it since he was old enough to sit on someone's knee and touch a keyboard," Dr Slocombe said.

Dr Slocombe said parents had to take more responsibility for their children online.

"Parents should take responsibility for cyber safety; it is just like any other issue, from drugs to safe sex," she said.

"It's a broad issue, from gaming addiction, to the grooming of children for sexual offences."

Telstra Foundation chairman Herb Elliott said the organisation hoped to reverse the growing trend of bullying with research to help keep kids safe.

"Sadly, there are more and more reported incidents of children and young people who are victimised at the hands of bullies or people doing the wrong thing online," he said.

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