Porn pic cyber-bullying 'reaching epidemic levels', warns Oz youth worker

Melbourne, Sep 13 (ANI): A Melbourne youth worker has expressed fear over cyber- bullying, which he believes has reached epidemic levels, amid new claims about young girls being pressured to provide pornographic images of themselves.

Police are investigating a case at St Joseph's College boys school in Geelong, in which it is believed a computer hacker stole an older student's Facebook identity and then pressured a grade five pupil to provide pornographic images of himself to a Facebook "friend".

A police spokeswoman confirmed the investigation but would not comment further.

Youth worker Les Twentyman has also revealed that he was told about a girl in year eight at a school in Victoria's east recently being lured into performing sex acts with year 12 boys that were filmed and posted on the Internet.

"We are getting increasingly aggressive cyber bullying and I am becoming more worried that we have seen more of it in the past six months," quoted Twentyman as saying.

"Every school I have visited this year - which is 30 - to speak about youth issues has the same problem. What is constantly expressed as the major problem is cyber bullying.

"It is a disease that is very distressing for our kids and has caused depression and suicides," he added.

Twentyman called on the federal and state governments to give police greater powers to close down email account accounts and prosecute "cyber bullies", pointing out that youth gangs use the internet to recruit members.

"They should suspend access," he said.

He said police should be able to pull down online threats and arrest those responsible.

Twentyman will describe the problem as a "disease" when he speaks at a Department of Education conference on "challenging behaviours" on Tuesday. (ANI)

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