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Old 19th March 2006, 11:47 AM   #1
Your friendly local necromancer
Join Date: Mar 2006
Location: Te Awamutu, New Zealand
Posts: 100
New Zealand Text Bullying

The day before school started this year, 12-year-old Alex from Putaruru died. The exact circumstances have not been publicised but the death has been linked to ruthless text bullying she was subjected to. Alex's mother Deanne Teka went public with the story to help raise awareness of this worrying problem.

My own daughter regularly tells me about text bullying amongst teenagers. It's rampant.

I don't understand why it has taken so long for anyone to care about this. It seems that there is no real control of cellphones at school and no recourse for victims. I feel that a task force needs to be set up to look at solutions. People who text bully should be dealt with immediately and severely. Perhaps we need to go so far as licence cellphones or keep a list of offenders who are not permitted to operate one.

A bit drastic? Let's put it in perspective: A 12-year-old girl is dead and she's not the first - two others have died in the same town in the last year under similar cirumstances - I think that's drastic. When kids are dying we need to take serious action.

If the telephone companies had any sense of responsibility they would be getting more involved with this. Text bullying has been around for a number of years so they do know about it. To be fair, Telecom and Vodafone have some bullying advice on their websites, but it's not much more than a token gesture IMO.

These companies sell a product which is wide open to abuse, specifically targetted at the very market which is most likely to abuse it (young people). Although only a small percentage of users abuse texting, you could argue the same about drugs - only a small number of users are abusers but we punish the suppliers badly.

I don't think we should treat Telecom like drug dealers but at the same time, they are the ones making a lot of money out of texting. We know that texting has a nasty effect on a small number of people so those profitting from the product should be expected to financially contribute to the solution.

Similar rules apply to other companies, for example, the TAB is required to contribute to programs which help fight problem gambling. The same should apply to any company that profits from products which have negative consequences in society.
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