If you haven’t yet seen the video of the awful bullying incident in an Australian playground this week, take a look at this (warning: it’s distressing).
[youtube KnKpL8dQdXk 640 390]
Apparently, the larger boy has been a victim of physical and verbal bullying for more than a year. In this video, he cracks and lashes out at his attacker. As a result, both boys were suspended from school for four days and the video has gone viral.
But here’s what disturbs me most: the giggling kid who filmed the incident and then uploaded it. No doubt, he is a hero among his friends because there is no greater social kudos than being the source of a viral video. What you spread online via your Facebook page equates to status.
And bullying is not just about the abuser, it’s also about the by-standers, those who do nothing, say nothing or, in cases like this, encourage the perpetrator to go further.
The South Australian Government is looking to introduce laws against cyber-bullying, just like they have in seven US states including New York.
From Adelaide Now :
“The Government wants to attack this disgusting fad of thugs engineering and filming violent and humiliating acts, and posting the images to websites,” Attorney General Mr John Rau told The Advertiser. “That behaviour is unacceptable.”
The laws, which he hoped to introduce into Parliament before the end of the year, follow several incidents in the past year, including one at Craigmore High School where an assault on a student was posted on the internet.
Mr Rau said the proposed legislation would be the first of its kind in Australia.
No other Australian state has legislation specifically aimed at this type of cyber bullying, while overseas legislation is in place in the US and France.
At least seven American states, including New York, Missouri, Rhode Island and Maryland, have laws penalising cyber bullying, while several cities have passed ordinances making online harassment a misdemeanour.
Mr Rau said the penalties involved in the new laws would range from fines to imprisonment for repeat offenders.
The laws will make it an offence to knowingly take or publish humiliating, demeaning or degrading images of another person without their consent.
Mr Rau said this could also involve images of people, originally taken with their consent, but then later used in a humiliating or nasty way – such as after a relationship had broken up. “A decade ago, we had in the electronic media five broadcasters who were subject to various disciplinary codes,” he said. “We now have thousands or millions of people capable of creating a broadcast without any control at all – that is everybody who has a mobile phone.”