AN INSTAGRAM account that rated teenagers from their photographs was closed this week, as the Queensland government increased its focus on cyber-safety and anti-bullying.
The social media user called for people to message photographs of themselves, which were posted on a public account with a rating out of 100. At least some of the teenagers were from the Redlands.
Other users commented in response under the profile pictures, some of which showed teenagers in school uniform.
Another Instagram account, also shut down this week, shared screenshots of profiles, some of users who claimed to be 12 years old, to encourage social media followers.
Speaking on international Safer Internet Day on Tuesday, Education Minister Grace Grace said a cyber-safety and reputation management team was helping schools tackle cyber-bullying and implement measures to ensure students stayed safe online.
“The team supports schools to respond to instances of inappropriate online behaviours by investigating the incidents in the same way as face-to-face bullying,” she said.
“During 2017, the team resolved more than 300 cyber-safety or reputation management related incidents.
“They also actively seek to shut down social media pages or sites that contain inappropriate, offensive or threatening content involving state school students or staff, with the team successfully removing or altering over 350 pages within the last four years.”
Secondary students were being told how to clean up their digital footprint.
eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant said students were encouraged to use technology safely and respectfully, as statistics showed that one in five young Australians and one in three adults have had a negative experience online.
“The number is far too high and we know the implications of some of these behaviours can be devastating to individuals and families,” she said.
Cleveland District State High School principal Paul Bancroft said students are reminded about the implications of putting photographs on social media.
He said schools, families and communities needed to build a culture where young people feel comfortable telling someone if they are feeling hurt or unsafe.
“Particularly if there is any sign of bullying, we all need to try to help,” he said.
Mr Bancroft said prohibiting students from using mobiles was not a solution.
“We need to help them to make smart choices.”
Ms Inman Grant called on community leaders to acting with respect online.
“...We need role models and influencers in our communities to step up and help shape a more respectful culture online,” she said.
The Palaszczuk government has approved measures to tackle bullying and cyber-bullying ahead of the issue being on the agenda at the Council of Australia Governments meeting on Friday.
An anti-bullying taskforce is to be set up and an awareness campaign run ahead of the National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence on March 16.