8 May 2012

Call for laws to combat cyber bullying

3:22 pm on 8 May 2012

Police, teachers and internet safety groups have spoken out in favour of new laws to combat bullying over mobile phones and social media.

They have all made submissions to a Law Commission paper on whether existing criminal and civil remedies are effective in the new media environment.

Chief Coroner Neil McLean says cyber bullying is increasingly being linked to self-harm and suicide.

Judge McLean told Radio New Zealand's Nine to Noon programme on Tuesday cyber bullying is often more insidious than normal bullying and has been linked to suicide by coroners.

Police say they are often approached with complaints of cyber bullying, but are unable to act because the current law does not cover online harassment.

Internet safety group Netsafe says even when laws do exist, it can be complicated and costly to find the person who posted the offending content and get it removed.

The Post Primary Teachers Association wants greater regulation of the internet and mobile phones.