WORLD

‘Plain ugly’: ScoMo to rely on young people in his fight with online bullies

A new youth advisory council will be set up to report to the government on online issues.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will set up a new advisory council made up entirely of young people to help him in his ongoing war against anonymous trolls on social media.

The 20 members of the new Online Safety Youth Advisory Council would be aged between 13 and 24 and participate in a range of forums looking at online safety, it will be announced on Wednesday.

They would then report back to the government with recommendations for further action in areas such as bullying and harassment, mental health, privacy, the impact of algorithms and unwanted contact from strangers.

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“Young people know better than anyone about the good, the bad and the plain ugly that exists in the online world,” Mr Morrison said.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison will establish a youth advisory council. Picture: Andrew Henshaw / NCA NewsWire
Prime Minister Scott Morrison will establish a youth advisory council. Picture: Andrew Henshaw / NCA NewsWire

“They are the first generation of Australians to grow up living simultaneously in both the real and digital worlds, and they are always at the forefront of new technologies.

“This is something that so many parents, and indeed decision makers, don’t always understand, because we haven’t lived this experience like they have.

“This is why there is no one better placed to tell us what needs to change, and how, than this generation of young Australians.”

Australia’s top cyber safety boss, eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant, will co-ordinate the council, with the nomination and selection process to be announced early next year.

“For young people today, there isn’t a clear distinction between their everyday and online lives, so we at eSafety believe we need their voices and insights to help shape the future of the internet, which helps young Australians have safer, more positive experiences online,” Ms Inman Grant said.

“We know from recent consultations that young people have high hopes and aspirations for the internet, and they want to be involved in decision making on online safety issues.”

This latest move comes after the government announced it would seek to introduce world-first legislation to unmask vicious trolls targeting people online.

This is the latest of multiple moves by the government to crack down on trolls.
This is the latest of multiple moves by the government to crack down on trolls.

This would be done by giving courts the power to make companies like Facebook and Twitter identify trolls in defamation cases, and if they refused, the tech giants would be liable.

A parliamentary inquiry has also been called to examine toxic material online, with the likes of anti-trolling campaigner and Channel 9 sports presenter Erin Molan to give evidence.

Communications Minister Paul Fletcher said the youth advisory group would include people from a wide range of backgrounds.

Sydney

Ashleigh Gleeson is a crime and court reporter for The Daily Telegraph.

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