Humanity has come a very long way. Racism, Sexism, Inequality. All features of societies gone by, and all ideals the world has sought to eliminate from modern societies, to ensure that life is fair, equitable and enjoyable for all humans. We’re not there yet, certainly, we have far to go.
But at least in the real world, there has been some progress.
So why does the online world not reflect this? Why are people bullied online and who’s responsibility is this? After the lecture in Week 10 introduced us to the uneven balance against females in computer science education through the infamous “brogrammer culture” and our tutorial lead us through the terrible online bullying cases which many students were familiar with, having been victims of similar atrocities themselves, a question made itself apparent. Should the Government play a role in addressing these issues?
Despite the complexities of an online environment which traverses many jurisdictions, making it difficult to police and legislate for, Australia has a supreme responsibility towards it’s citizens. If we feel that these behaviours and anti social attitudes are unwanted within our society, than we must be active in ensuring that acts of this nature which occur in the online sphere are treated seriously by our nation – just as seriously as similar atrocities which occur in the real world.
Thankfully the Government thinks the same way. In a week which saw it’s first budget pulled apart, the Australian Government launched funding for new online safety educational programs in schools, as well an extra $2.4 million in funding towards the establishment of the Office of the Children’s e-Safety Commissioner, with a further $100,000 in research and information campaign grants provided. Whether this will actually change the nature of online bullying in Australia remains to be seen – But I think it is important that education is at the centre of this issue. If we want to stamp out real issues such as children committing suicide over online bullying, than we must take initiative.