Kylie Simpson is appalled that her daughter was cyber-bullied with graphic images and comments.
Kylie Simpson is appalled that her daughter was cyber-bullied with graphic images and comments. Nicholas Falconer

Mum witnesses cyber attack

SUNSHINE Coast mother Kylie Simpson was horrified when someone hacked into her 12-year-old daughter’s MySpace page before her eyes and posted a pornographic image and wrote lewd messages.

But Ms Simpson’s daughter’s experience with a shocking case of cyber bullying is not an isolated case.

Detective Senior Sergeant David Somerville, from the Child Protection Investigation Unit, said cyber bullying was an issue on the Coast and minors did not realise they could be committing serious offences by engaging in the online taunting.

The cyber attack on Ms Simpson’s daughter happened on a recent Saturday night when the young girl was asleep.

Her older sister’s friend was online at the time when she began receiving the lewd messages from the 12-year-old’s page.

The friend alerted the Simpsons of the cyber attack.

Ms Simpson jumped online and was shocked by what she saw.

“It was set it up as a porn site with offerings for sex and it was being changed before our very eyes,” Ms Simpson said.

She reported it to her daughter’s school which in turn contacted police.

After an investigation, a 12-year-old girl admitted to police she was responsible for the cyber bullying and was officially cautioned.

Ms Simpson said the experience was a wake-up call.

“I was amazed and appalled that a 12-year-old-girl could think of such a thing and how easy it was to do,” she said.

Ms Simpson said her daughter was devastated by the embarrassing attack.

Her daughter thinks she may have given the former friend her MySpace password which allowed the girl to hack into the site.

“It is so important to keep your personal information to yourself and they (children) do not get the importance of it,” Ms Simpson said.

Det Snr Sgt Somerville said young people did not realise many forms of online bullying were actually illegal.

“Bullying has been around for years, but now in this technological age, they could be committing an offence. Computer hacking, fraud, obtaining someone else’s password by deceit, child exploitation material – all these are serious offences.”

Det Snr Sgt Somerville said police used their discretion when dealing with minors who were involved in cyber bullying.

“What action we take depends on a number of things such as (the offender’s) age, whether they admit to the offence, their criminal history and if they have been through the cautioning process before. If it is a first-time offender and they admit what they did was wrong, a caution could be of benefit.”

To find out more about how to protect your child from cyber bullying, go to www.cybersmart.gov.au
 
Have you seen or heard of a case of cyber-bullying? Leave your comments below...


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