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WA government to study cyber-bullying

14 April, 2008
By Allison Orr

The West Australian government has announced that it will spend $400,000 on a world-first study into cyber-bullying - the use of Internet and mobile-phone technology for bullying.

"The malicious and insidious nature of cyber-bullying will be targeted as part of the State Government’s zero-tolerance approach to bullying and bad behavior at public schools across the State," says Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan.

"Cyber bullying can involve abusive text messages and emails, degrading digital photographs and mobile phone videos.  Often the perpetrator remains anonymous, which makes the method more attractive to students as they are less likely to get caught."

Mr McGowan says cyber-bullying is a growing phenomenon globally.  It is most prevalent among 11 to 16 year olds, with 15 per cent of West Australian public school children having experienced cyber-bullying.
 
The five-year study will be undertaken by the WA Government and Edith Cowan University’s Child Health Promotion Research Centre, and will include a State-wide Cyber Summit to be held in September.  The information gained in the study will be used to develop a cyber-bullying intervention program to help school communites and families reduce cyber-bullying behavior.

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