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Gaming platform and social network app join Australia in tackling cyberbullying against children

Gaming platform and social network app join Australia in tackling cyberbullying against children

Last
week, the Office of the eSafety Commissioner announced
latest members of the eSafety Commissioner’s Tier
1 social media scheme
.

Gaming
and social network platform, Roblox, and
social networking app, Yubo, are the latest
services to join the eSafety Commissioner and the Australian Government in
efforts to tackle cyberbullying targeting children in Australia.

This
means that if an Australian child under the age of 18 is cyberbullied on either
Roblox or Yubo, the eSafety Commissioner now has escalation paths to get the
perpetrators or content removed, if the services fail to act within 48 hours.

 “The new partnerships signify Roblox and
Yubo’s willingness to work with the Australian Government in keeping kids safe
online, but also demonstrates their commitment to continue investing and
innovating in the safety of their platforms for the benefit of their users,” said
Ms Julie Inman Grant, eSafety Commissioner of Australia.

According
to a recent
research released
by the Officer of the eSafety Commissioner, titled “State of Play – Youth and online gaming in
Australia”
, 6 in 10 young people aged 8 to 17 in Australia play multiplayer
games. An estimated 17%, or approximately 200,000 young Australians, of these
multiplayer gamers experienced in-game bullying in a 12-month period.

Prevalence of bullying amongst multiplayer game players by age (Credit: Office of the eSafety Commissioner)

The
Office of the eSafety Commissioner is proactively encouraging gaming and social
networking platforms to join its cyberbullying scheme, particularly those with
a large youth user base.

In
Australia, the Enhancing Online Safety Act 2015 (the Act) establishes
a two-tier scheme for the removal from social media services of cyberbullying
material targeted at an Australian child. The Tier scheme forms a key component
of the new complaints system aimed at providing children and young people with
a pathway for the removal of potentially harmful cyberbullying material.

Any
social media services may volunteer to participate in Tier
1
 including small social media services and the Commissioner can make
a recommendation that large social media services be declared Tier
2
. Tier 2 social media services are subject to legally binding notices and
penalties.

Roblox
is the first multiplayer, online gaming platform to join the eSafety
Commissioner’s Tier 1 social media scheme.

“Given
the high volume of global engagement, and the extent to which cyberbullying,
and other safety issues, are affecting young people on gaming platforms, Roblox
is setting the standard for others to follow,” said the eSafety Commissioner.

“Roblox’s
efforts to continue evolving its safety standards by introducing innovative new
features and protocols have been impressive,” she added.

Some
of these new features Roblox rolled out include parental controls, clear age
visibility, stringent chat controls, and expansion of the moderation team to
moderate behaviour that is not tolerated on the platform.

On
the other hand, social video app Yubo, formerly known as “Yellow”, also joined
the Tier 1 social media scheme. The social video app has over 15 million users
globally, allowing teenagers to create communities of friends.

In
the press release, Commissioner Ms Inman Grant applauded Yubo for extensively
reworking its safety features to make its platform safer for teens.

“Altering its age restrictions, improving its
real identity policy, setting clear policies around inappropriate content and
cyberbullying, and giving users the ability to turn location data off
demonstrates that Yubo is taking user safety seriously”, she said.

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