Police warn of cyber arrests
WRITING offensive comments on Facebook sites, including the recent teen sex rating pages, can be illegal, police have warned.
Acting Gympie District Inspector Duane Frank said he was aware of the pages, but had not received any complaints as of yesterday.
“From a police perspective it could end up becoming a problem,” he said.
Inspector Frank said writing defamatory comments that menaced, harassed or threatened was illegal.
It did not matter if the comments were on a Facebook page, in an email, text message or were made over the phone.
The police had the ability to pull the information off the web or a phone, even if it had been deleted.
“What people must remember is it is all traceable, it's there forever and a day,” he said.
The worrying trend of cyber bullying was “steadily” on the increase, Inspector Frank said, and could lead to criminal charges.
As well as creating emotional damage, defamatory comments could lead to confrontations and physical altercations.
“Parents are entitled to give their children a phone and access to a computer, but with that comes responsibility and accountability.
“Modern communications come with their own issues.”
The answer, he said, was for parents to beware of what their kids were up to.
“They need to, where they can, open the lines of communication and be aware of what friends their children are talking to. What they are doing on the phone and computer is often unknown to the parents.”
He said if someone felt a comment about them was threatening or harassing, they had the right to contact police.
“Continual exposure to bullying and harassment ... can affect behaviour over time.”
Worried about cyber bullying or a Facebook page? Email editor@gympie times.com or call 5480 4210