• A new e-safety commissioner will tackle cyberbullying . (SBS)
With children spending more time online and at greater risk of online abuse, the government has appointed an e-safety commissioner to tackle the growing issue of cyberbullying.
By
Emma Hannigan

1 Jul 2015 - 5:16 PM  UPDATED 1 Jul 2015 - 8:04 PM

The federal government has signaled its commitment to addressing the issue of online bullying, with the establishment of an e-safety commissioner.

Complaints about social media content on platforms like Facebook and Twitter will now be made to the e-Safety Office, which is headed by new e-safety commissioner, Alastair MacGibbon.

"We are here as a safety net, we are here to pick up the problem should all other efforts fail and very importantly, we are here to prevent it happening in the first place," Mr MacGibbon said.

One in five children have reported experiencing cyberbullying, but experts believe the number to be closer to one in three.

"We don't accept this type of behaviour offline, nor should we accept it online," said Mr MacGibbon.

As technology becomes more pervasive and children begin to use devices with internet capabilities from a younger age, it has become more difficult for parents to police online behaviour.

School training programs are trying to teach young people that virtual bullying can be just as dangerous as physical bullying.

Cyber safety trainer Kellie Britnell says it is important to have students reflect on their own online behaviour.

"We try and work on getting them to examine their own behaviour and be good digital citizens online," she said.

"It is having empathy, being kind to others all the things that parents have expectations of their children offline, it is the same for online."

The new e-safety commissioner says if all the office achieve is taking down offensive material, then it has failed - the real test is whether online culture can be changed.