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BizReport : Internet : September 24, 2012

Australian youngsters to receive lessons in netiquette

Australia's Prime Minister has asked that school curriculums in the country include lessons about social media abuse and trolling in an attempt to stamp out online bullying.

by Helen Leggatt

Julia Gillard has approached the Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority with a view to expanding existing anti-bullying classes to include online forms of intimidation.

The move comes hot on the heels of a Daily Telegraphy (Sydney) #StopTheTrolls campaign, supported by several Australian celebrities who have themselves been victims of online abuse.

"Whether it's physical violence or online intimidation, we need to ensure that our kids learn the lesson early in life that this conduct can cause great harm and have real consequences," said Gillard. "We have seen the damage that can occur as a result of relentless online bullying. Through the national curriculum, Australia can make sure that every student in every school knows this behavior is not on."

Earlier this year the British government proposed major changes to the Defamation Bill which would give the victims of Internet trolling the power to identify the perpetrator.

However, the bill will not cover comments that are offensive, unpleasant or constitute harassment, breach of confidence or an invasion of privacy - categories into which the bulk of trolls' comments fall.

Perhaps, by educating young Internet users, the increasing rage and verbal violence on the likes of Twitter can be reduced as more people are aware of the consequences, both personal and legal.

Tags: Australia, cyber bullying, Defamation Bill, netiquette, online etiquette, social media, UK

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