High-schoolers targeted by potentially harmful Snapchat accounts

SOCIAL MEDIA: Studies show around 5000 students in South Australian schools are being bullied on a weekly basis.
SOCIAL MEDIA: Studies show around 5000 students in South Australian schools are being bullied on a weekly basis.

A number of social media accounts targeting high school students have surfaced at an alarming rate over the past few days in Port Augusta.

The Snapchat accounts are posting derogatory comments and sexually explicit details regarding underage students.

The accounts are claiming to be 100 per cent anonymous and encouraging Snapchat users to send in 'rumours'.

Both Caritas College and Port Augusta Secondary School are aware of the situation and have policies in place to address cyberbullying.

One Snapchat account is calling for subscribers to submit content.

One Snapchat account is calling for subscribers to submit content.

Caritas Principal Damian Smith assured that while a lot of this online activity occurs outside of college hours, the wellbeing of students is the school's first and foremost priority.

"We are acutely aware of the impact that social media can have on the wellbeing of young people. Our staff play an important role in supporting students when things go wrong online," Mr Smith said.

"We strive to strengthen their relationships with one another, build positive emotions, enhance personal resilience, promote mindfulness, and encourage a healthy lifestyle. This is achieved through a considered and proactive approach that helps our young people to make wise decisions online.

"We also believe that it is important to collaborate with families and other agencies to support student learning, safety and wellbeing.

"I’d encourage parents to have open conversations with their children about the positives and negatives of social media. School staff and counsellors can also provide support if needed.”

If you or someone you know is a victim of cyberbullying

Those targeted by the accounts should report cyberbullying to the Snapchat service and keep screenshots as evidence.

If it is not removed within 48 hours a complaint can be made to the eSafety Commissioner.

In the most severe cases, bullying behaviours can now be treated as a crime and this can include incidents that happen via the internet, social media, or mobile phones.

It can also be a crime to use a mobile phone or the internet to threaten, harass or seriously offend somebody, or to send out (or threaten to send out) sexually explicit images or films of someone without their consent.

South Australia Police (SAPOL) have advised anyone who believes they are a victim of these offences to report the matter to their local police station or online via Australian Cybercrime Online Reporting Network.

"is timely to stress that uploading of images and texts are done in an instant and often without thinking about the long term effects," a spokesperson for SAPOL said.

"Unfortunately, these images and texts remain in the electronic mediums forever, and the long term effects of an uploaded image or text can have long term adverse impact on the health and wellbeing for both the sender and those receiving."

A recent Australian Education Department survey revealed an astounding 5000 students in South Australian schools are being bullied on a weekly basis.

The tragic death of 14 year old Amy “Dolly” Everett early last year following relentless bullying prompted nationwide outrage and calls to implement bullying laws across Australia.

South Australian MPs debated 'Libby's Law' last year before the state election, the bill would have imposed a penalty of up to 10 years but it lapsed in parliament.

If you need help:

Lifeline: 13 11 14

Port Augusta Headspace: 8641 4300

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800