Computer Crime Research Center


Teens killed in cyber bullying 'epidemic'

Date: February 21, 2009

to get tough on cyber bullying, saying it has reached epidemic proportions.

Outreach worker Les Twentyman said in the past eight months he knew of 10 teenagers who had killed themselves after being bullied by people online, mainly at social networking sites like MySpace and Facebook.

He called on federal Communications Minister Stephen Conroy to change laws so police could pull down online threats and arrest those responsible.

"I call on Senator Conroy to bring an urgent motion through the parliament to give more powers to both federal and state cops to be enacted straight away to shut-down and heavily prosecute those extorting and putting young lives at risk," Mr Twentyman said.

Mr Twentyman said in recent weeks a 17-year-old high school student jumped to his death off the West Gate Bridge after reading death threats online.

The parents of the child later discovered there were 30,000 hits on their son's MySpace page, and have arranged a rally to be held on Saturday to make people more aware of cyber bullying.

"It is an absolute epidemic and everyone is extremely concerned," he said.

"Kids have got this enormous power of this internet thing, and it is out of control, because they are not mature enough to know what they are doing," Mr Twentyman said.

In another incident Mr Twentyman said two teenagers in Sunbury recently began texting each other threats, which culminated in a deadly attack.

"Two Sundays ago, at the Diggers Rest footy ground, two car loads of kids from St Albans pulled up, armed to the back teeth with machetes," Mr Twentyman said.

"The cricket had just finished and the kids ran across the ground in front of 200-odd people and machetes two kids.
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