Who really pays for cyberbullying?
Cyberbullying is growing. It is a major concern to children, parents and guardians. But the cost doesn’t stop at the victim – it has long-term financial implications for our schools, workplaces, healthcare system and society.
According to the Productivity Commission bullying comes at a phenomenal cost: more than $A6 billion annually in Australia alone. Children who bully are more likely to grow up to be adults who exhibit antisocial behaviours like workplace bullying and harassment.
While a relatively new problem with few longitudinal studies, experts consider the effects of cyberbullying to be even greater than traditional bullying.
Alex Merton-McCann is Intel Security’s Cybermum in Australia. A blogger and subject expert, she says one of the biggest problems with cyberbullying is that it’s often visible to anybody online.
“Say, for example, it happens on your Facebook profile,” she says. “Followers from both sides can see what’s going on. Some experts believe it can be even more traumatic because it’s harder to escape.”
A study in the US by the HighMark Foundation found 30 per cent of children who are bullied go on to experience mental health issues over the long term, and 50 per cent of those access the healthcare system to deal with those issues.
Intel Security’s 2015 study (Teens, Tweens and Technology 2015) showed more than half of children active on social media witnessed cruel behaviour on social networks and 16 per cent claimed to have been the victim of cyberbullying.
In 2015, Kids Helpline received over 3000 referrals from cyber safety and bullying websites and, when combined with the frequency of visits by both parents and children to their Cyber Safety Tips and Info pages, concluded cyberbullying was a major concern.
“Every parent’s worst nightmare is to have their child cyberbullied,” Merton-McCann says. “It’s huge, because bullying, whether online or in person, is traumatic.”
In 2015, the Australian government established the Office of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner at a cost of $A50 million.
Originally Published by ANZ Blue Notes, continue reading here.