Cyber bullying among youth costing Australian taxpayers millions of dollars: study

Source: Xinhua| 2018-12-01 13:28:21|Editor: Chengcheng
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CANBERRA, Dec. 1 (Xinhua) -- The burden of cyber bullying cost Australian taxpayers 30 million Australian dollars (21.9 million U.S. dollars) over four years, according to a report.

A new study published by youth mental health service ReachOut on Saturday revealed that 378,000 Australians aged between 14 and 25 were bullied online in financial year 2017-18.

Of those 64,000, or 16.9 percent, sought help from a mental health professional and 49,000 visited their General Practitioner (GP), with taxpayers picking up the bill via Australia's universal health care system, Medicare.

The figure of 30 million Australian dollars was calculated based on the 36.3 Australian dollars (26.5 U.S. dollars) Medicare rebate to patients for a GP visit and 84.8 Australian dollars (62 U.S. dollars) rebate for a psychologist visit.

"The difficulty with cyber bullying is often there's no escape for young people, with the bullies effectively having a key to every area of their life, including their home," Ashley De Silva, chief executive of ReachOut, told News Corp Australia on Saturday.

However, the Australian Medical Association (AMA) said that the figure was likely too conservative.

Tony Bartone, president of the AMA, said that GPs were being swamped by teenage patients suffering from mental health issues as a result of online harassment.

"We do need to get serious about this. There are enormous gaps in the system," the president said.

Cyber bullying in Australia made international headlines in January when 14-year-old Amy "Dolly" Everett, who was the face of an iconic advertising campaign, took her own life in January after being bullied online.