Michael Murray
Michael Murray Northern Star

It's time to stop young bullies

BALLINA lawyer Vince Boss believes more teenagers would come forward with allegations of bullying in cyber space if they weren't afraid of the consequences in the schoolyard.

Mr Boss said cyber-bullying was a 'big issue' for teenagers across NSW.

Mr Boss's firm, Dakin Law, is acting on behalf of the parents of local high school student Alex Wildman who took his own life last month amidst allegations of bullying.

He has been asking people to come forward with examples of cyber-bullying.

He said it was becoming apparent that it was a real issue, and was having a greater impact on the lives of young people than was generally recognised.

"There seems to be a lot of little stories from all over the place," he said.

"We still want people to come forward. We're happy to hear from anyone on the issue of bullying. ... How can we resolve these issues if people don't come forward?"

Mr Boss's comments come after Tweed Heads police interviewed a 16-year-old male from Banora Point yesterday in relation to a MySpace website called 'Let's kill Michael Murray'.

The site had 64 members and claimed it was 'exclusively for those who want to bash' the 17-year-old.

The site was in the process of being removed yesterday afternoon, but Michael said he feared for his safety every time he left the house.

"I can't go out any more. It only takes one of them to see me and the rest of them know where I am," Michael said.

He said he was at a loss to explain why he was being targeted.

"They don't like me, but the group is mostly full of people who don't even know me."

A teenager supposedly responsible for the group's formation said the site could not be completely removed because he had forgotten the password.

"It won't let me delete it," he said.

"I need the password to get in and get rid of all traces.

"I have done everything I can to get rid of it though."

The unidentified teen said he was now appealing to MySpace to completely remove the group.

I just want to put this behind me now, he said.

An Australian Democrats poll in 2007 suggested that one-in-five young Australians had been the victim of cyber bullying, which included threatening or offensive text messages.

Other research from the Queensland University of Technology suggests that nearly all teens will experience some form of mobile phone bullying by the time they finish high school.


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