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back to article Liberals propose law to regulate social media

Australian opposition leader Tony Abbott has floated a suite of online child safety ideas that would include legislation to regulate social media, which would become answerable to a “Children’s e-Safety Commissioner” charged with taking “a national leadership role in online safety for children.” The proposals stand a very good …

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Pointless

And out of touch.

Good grief, you can call a kid whatever you like, they can complain, 2 days later, after it has been repeated around the internet, caused offence, upset the kid, given all their friends (ex-friends, enemies and everyone else in the town) a 'laugh' it will be removed.

There is no way to stop cyber bullying any more than there is a way to stop bullying at school. Kids will be bullied for all sorts of things - wrong clothes, wrong taste in music, wrong hair colour, wrong waist line, wrong skin colour, wrong accent, anything that doesn't match the 'norm' as defined by the other kids and their parents.

It can't be stopped, perhaps better to work on helping kids to cope with ti and realise that being different is good!

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Stop

Re: Pointless

We need to teach kids that life isn't fair, people aren't always nice, and the best way to survive is to learn to overcome it. The earlier they learn that, the better. Hide them from bullying at school, and how will they cope when they're bullied in the office, and are too "grown up" to cry on Mummy's shoulder about it? Bullies are a nasty but unavoidable fact of life, and need to be outed and taught that it doesn't work, not suppressed and hidden.

This is so reminiscent of the past UK government's nannying of the educational system. Kids were taught that they never failed anything, there was no "pass" or "fail" line, and everything was always OK. Result: they never learned to pick themselves up again after being knocked down, and the first time they get a setback (failed job interview, rejected lover, etc.) is when they're an adult, and they have absolutely no way to cope except by looking for someone to blame, because it can't be their own fault. Not a recipe for a healthy society.

And besides, haven't governments learned yet that they *can't* control the internet?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Pointless

Spoken like a true bully:

"What's wrong? Can't take it? Going home to cry to mummy?"

Have you heard yourself? Bullying is not an unavoidable fact of life either in school or work, just as sexual harassment (also, bullying) isn't and was stamped out. If you work for a company that tolerates bullying, you should do something about it, standing round and thinking that the victim should man up - presumably because it's not happing to you, therefore isn't a problem - is a pathetic cop out of a weak coward.

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FAIL

Re: Pointless

> Have you heard yourself?

Yes, but maybe you didn't.

I completely agree that bullying must be stamped out, that's what I said. You won't stamp it out by hiding the tools from the bully, bullies are sneaky bastards who will just find another way that is less public. We all learn that at school. You stamp it out by exposing the bully and making him/her stop.

Yes, that requires a certain "manning-up" on the part of the victim, to at least ask for help. Certainly not to just put up with it as you seem to think I was suggesting.

And if you think that bullying and sexual harassment has been stampted out, look around you.

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Re: Pointless

"Have you heard yourself? Bullying is not an unavoidable fact of life either in school or work, just as sexual harassment (also, bullying) isn't and was stamped out. If you work for a company that tolerates bullying, you should do something about it, standing round and thinking that the victim should man up - presumably because it's not happing to you, therefore isn't a problem - is a pathetic cop out of a weak coward."

Name one place where bullying and/or sexual harassment has been stamped out? Can I have a reality check here please?

Stupid bullys do it publically and get caught. Smart bullys are sneaky and do stuff behind your back and where there are no witnesses. Yes it's horrible and unfair, blah blah blah but it exists and no amount of stupid laws is going to stop it.

Bullys pick on victims. If you don't want to be bullied, don't be a victim

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Anonymous Coward

Not pointless

"The discussion paper rules out similar approaches for material pertaining to adults, saying that to regulate more widely would restrict freedom of speech."

I was all set to outraged, but realised that the proposals (for example the above quote) are in fact quite sensible.

@Dave 15

The trouble with so-called cyber bullying is that it has in some cases proven to be fatal.

It would be irresponsible of any government not to at least try to protect its more vulnerable citizens.

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Utterly pointless.

The trouble with real world bullying is that it has in some cases proven to be fatal. It just doesn't leave a twitter account for politicians to scare people with.

It would be irresponsible of any government to spend huge amounts of our money on something which will make no difference whatsoever.

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Re: Not pointless

"The trouble with so-called cyber bullying is that it has in some cases proven to be fatal."

More divorces end with sucide. The bitch accuses the man of child abuse, takes his home and kids away, takes all his assets and leaves him with nothing but his life which he takes himself.

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our proposal is that ...

"... every one of these large social media organisations should have a designated officer who is responsible for handling this kind of issue"

Actually so far this seems quite sensible. If there are "diversity officers" in all sort of companies, then why not officers dedicated to customer service?

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FAIL

Re: our proposal is that ...

It's reasonable for companies bound by Australian law. Now how many facetubes would that be I wonder ..

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Anonymous Coward

Bullying screws up lives in subtle ways

Bullying isn't all about some name calling or the other extreme poor kids comitting suicide, bullying can fuck up lives for a very long time and the effects are so subtle that it could even have happened to those around you.

My own story, I married a lovely lady who had spent her last 3 years at school being bullied by other kids over a health issue and because her Dad died of a heart attack in front of her when she was 13. She'd done nothing wrong, she simply had a bit of shitty luck and for that the other kids thought it was worth victimising her. She never got any support from school, her Mum wasn't really in a fit state to help her so she failed all her exams and left school feeling with no qualifications and no prospects. I met her when she was 19 I convinced her to go back to college and get her qualifications that she'd missed at school, she managed to get into clerical work in London rather than basic cleaning jobs she'd had to do. At age of 30 she went into nursery teaching, got her CRBs and now at the age of 35 she's about to start her degree course in teaching as she wants to go back and help those kids who do get missed by the system like she did.

While this may be a token effort and appreciate attempting to stop cyber-bullying is like trying to stop a waterfall with a bucket, it's a start and if it gets people talking and communicating then that's progress.

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From the department of wishful thinking...

It's not the worst idea to come out of a politician's mouth but why can't they consider, *before* running their mouth off, whether their idea is remotely feasible?

Kids getting bullied sucks but it's not possible to stop it. A more pragmatic and successful approach would be to teach kids how to cope with being bullied, who to turn to, what to do, and how to survive. Say, "they shouldn't *have* to learn how to cope" all you like, but you know I'm right.

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What is it about these aussies?

One moment a bunch of cheerful drunks in wifebeaters, the next the biggest national bunch of wusses on earth. Is there anything they don't think can be fixed by government regulation?

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Re: What is it about these aussies?

Just like New Labour and most other Western Governments there's nothing they think cannot be fixed without a bit more regulation

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Simple answer

Make the social media service legally responsible for anything delivered to minors.

They would have the right to sue the actual perpetrator to cover their losses.

That'd fix it in no time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Simple answer

Define "delivered" ?

Not so simple, is it?

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Childcatcher

Re: Simple answer

Here's an idea, make parents responsible for monitoring their children when they're online.

They would have to sit with/near their spawn and monitor what they're doing and even, perhaps, do some parenting when their beloved little ones come across something distressing. They could teach them how to cope with such issues and the appropriate actions to take. Hell, perhaps even the parents of the 'cyber-bully' could stop their spawn being an obnoxious fuckwit in the first place by monitoring what they do too.

This means parents get to spend more time with their children and the government doesn't need to piss my taxes away paying for yet another quango.

That'd fix it in no time.

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Re: Simple answer

Great idea!

And while we're at it lets make the postal service responsible for hate mail and the phone service responsible for prank calls.

Stupid suggestions like this is where stupid politicians get their stupid ideas. It doesn't solve the problem and could end up breaking the internet.

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Childcatcher

Here's an idea ..

Why not apply the idiocy du jour to this problem ? Require everone who posts on social media to have a licence and be forced to swipe a card when they post. The fees collected can go toward administering an anti-bullying quango. If you go a year without posting something offensive then you get your money back ...

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Re: Here's an idea ..

"Require everone who posts on social media to have a licence and be forced to swipe a card when they post. The fees collected can go toward administering an anti-bullying quango. If you go a year without posting something offensive then you get your money back ..."

I'd never get my money back.... (Too many whiny pussies who can't handle the truth)

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Anonymous Coward

This from Tony Abbott

The bullies bully.

LOL

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Tony Abbott - the manifesto man from Team Sleaze....

Who was with John Howard when he declared "kiss arse to George W. Bush" (The oil man and his oilmen friends) to undertake their premeditated war on Iraq, because Saddam had imaginary weapons of mass destruction, all hidden down the oil wells, which had to be found with the bank financed military, the bank financed oil companies, and the bank financed US corporate infrastructure.

Of course millions and millions of people died in the US lead embargoes and attacks on everyone in the middle east..

But Abbott says that is not bullying, that is being a USA / CIA arse licker - comes with being an American puppet government.

So now we gotta protect the kids online...

Is that all the hundreds of thousands dropping dead from the depleted uranium blasted all around Iraq or the fat little snivelers on the internet in his electorate?

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Anonymous Coward

"Abbott says ..."

"... the five years it took to make that decision [to abandon internet filtering] were time that could have been better spent on a more constructive approach."

In a world not run by Abbott and his ilk (regardless of political colour), maybe. In this one, no. The assorted and collected politicians coming up with then abandoning the plan obviously needed that time to spend it bickering and arguing until finally they heard what the people (outside of a few mentally lazy and/or unprincipled pressure groups) had been saying all along: "Don't do that, doofuses." They evidently needed the time for it's taken them that long. In fact, they're not done wasting time yet.

If it takes that long, it takes that long. If it's too long, we need to get rid of the people and/or the system that need that long, and try and find a better one. That'll take at least five more years, though.

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How is this going to work with social media sites with no staff or office presence in Australia? If say twitter ignores the Aussie request do Australia go all Peoples republic of China and block access to the site?

Once again its the polititians using the 'wont someone think of the children' arguement without really thinking it through.

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>How is this going to work?

The same way the anti-bullying campaign works in Australian schools. There will be policy documents. Public servants will be required to agree with the policy documents. There will be lots of public servants. The policies will apply to everyone except unruly bullies whose parents have few material assets, those who come from a disadvantaged minority or those who have a history of antisocial problems. The policy will be held up as evidence of a solution. Like mandatory bicycle helmets and obesity or child porn laws and teen sexting there will be many unintended consequences. The consequences will not be allowed to overshadow the fact that there is a policy and therefore a solution.

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agree with most of the above. the heading sounds like what people want to hear, but there are no details, and the details always fail. the internet it too big and international in nature. the first 2 posts have it right.

Australia has always been over censored, and has a strong political culture of censorship. Attempts to censor the net so far have failed. Kids need education and support, and those spruking "think of the children", while speaking popular words, really badly need more education themselves on the subjects they speak of.

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Trollface

Trolling...

So Tony wants to set up a government department that the trolls of the net can troll all day and all night and guarantee a response?

Did this start out with someone saying "I have a cunning plan"?

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