KATHERINE’S community safety group is “disgusted” by the behavior of adults on local social media pages.
Aside from racist rants and regular vicious attacks on retail outlets, some people are flirting dangerously with breaking the law, the Katherine Safety is Everyone's Right Local Reference Group says.
“Children are often better behaved than their parents when they go online,” LRG member and Community Corrections regional manager Garry Bennett said.
“Their children are often warned about cyber bullying at school, there has been a lot of attention on how dangerous that is, but we seem to have missed a generation.”
The group has launched a campaign for the town’s online users to clean up their act. Katherine MP Sandra Nelson also used the first week of parliamentary sittings to reveal her personal disgust with local online behavior.
“This is a really serious issue and the cyber bullying incidences that are happening throughout some of the social media sites, as well as some of the vigilante conversations that are happening, are disturbing and of great concern,” Ms Nelson told parliament last week.
“It’s disappointing parents are not following the lead shown by their children,” Bev Patterson from Save the Children said.
“I don’t think they are deliberately trying to be hurtful but that’s the end result of what they do.”
Education advisor Christine Sutherland said once some behind sat behind a screen their normal codes of behaviour were abandoned.
“It seems one follows another and before you know it it’s out of control,” Ms Sutherland said.
She said many people also failed to understand their comments could stay in cyber-space forever and affect their job chances in years to come.
“Employers can search Facebook and online for things you might have said which can come back to bite.”
Lawyer Matt Fawkner said there had been “many potential breaches of the law”.
“Children are being identified, racist slurs are being made, I don’t think people realise how far they are going,” Mr Fawkner said.
Carol Dowling from the Kalano Community Association said many community members were deeply offended by many comments being made.
Ms Nelson warned of strict Australian laws which apply to serious online harassment and online bullying behavior where penalties of three year’s jail or $30,000 in fines are available.