Auckland schoolboy victim of 'vulgar and relentless' cyber bullying

  • 09/08/2017

An Auckland mother has spoken about the revolting and relentless abuse her young son is receiving from classmates on social media.

She only knows about the cyber bullying because her 11-year-old felt comfortable enough to share it with her, but she's not happy with Blockhouse Bay Intermediate School's response.

"The content of the messages is sexually inappropriate, very suggestive and vulgar," says the mother, who wants to remain anonymous.

Some days he receives one or two messages, while on other days it's relentless.

"There hasn't been a day when at least one has not come through."

The sender uses multiple apps, targeting his Instagram and accounts.

His mother suspects the people responsible are in his class, but believes the school hasn't taken action.

"Initially I felt like we were getting somewhere. They expressed to be they have no legal obligation to investigate the matter further because it was happening outside of school hours."

The school won't comment on individual cases, but the principal says the school provides a safe and secure learning environment, and as part of the curriculum students are taught to be responsible cyber citizens.

According to Netsafe around 20 percent of secondary school students across the country are dealing with cases of cyber bullying.

"We receive about 150 complaints a month under the Harmful Digital Communications Act Regime," says Netsafe chief executive Martin Cocker.

Since coming into force in 2015, that Act has resulted in 170 criminal charges filed and 75 convictions and sentences.

Netsafe says social media is a normal part of life and parents shouldn't shut down their children's accounts if bullying occurs, but they should block harmful accounts and report any issues to authorities.