Rugby league presenter Erin Molan has had enough of online trolls and she's calling on law-makers to crack down on what is becoming a growing issue in Australian sport.
Molan has spoken openly about the abuse she's copped from cyber bullies over the years, and the 37-year-old says it will continue to be an issue unless tougher penalties are handed down to offenders.
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Speaking on Nine's Weekend Today program on Sunday, Molan said she'd been "lobbying the government for probably over a year" about cyber bullying.
"This isn’t about me. I’ve been the victim of some of the most horrific trolling and abuse online for the better part of a decade. I am essentially immune to it. I see it for what it is," Molan said.
“This is about other people. This is about young people, this is about every Australian having the right to feel safe online.
“I just think there’s real issues at the moment with what we are doing with this. I think the entire focus of campaigns at the moment, and when people go into schools, is on coping mechanisms for the victim.
“That is ridiculous. That doesn’t work. We’ve got to look at the punishments for the perpetrators and I think that’s where we need to change tack.
I hope what @Erin_Molan is speaking about here leads to some action.
How there has been no changes in laws to date is astonishing. As is how ‘people’ think it’s ok to say what they want cause they’re on social media.
All actions have consequences - so should these. pic.twitter.com/YdaslYL9Lz
— James Ogrady (@JamesOgrady21) August 23, 2020
“It’s not effective, telling trolls that people are hurt by this. It’s not effective showing the dire consequences; and let me tell you, there are dire consequences. People take their lives, strong people take their lives, because of bullying online.
Molan gave Anthony Seibold a public show of support last week after the Broncos coach confirmed he had sought a legal team to deal with vile allegations about his family that have been circulating on social media.
“Some of these rumours that have been circulating and some of the trolling that he has received has been some of the vilest that I’ve ever seen, and I’ve seen some pretty vile stuff and I’ve been the recipient of some pretty vile stuff,” Molan said.
“I am so glad that he is taking action, I’m so glad that he has got lawyers. I’m so glad that he has got cyber experts from overseas.
Molan calls for tougher laws on cyber bullying
The issue of cyber bullying has been thrust into the spotlight in the AFL as well this weekend, with Richmond's Dylan Grimes revealing that he was the victim of vile death threats after being accused of staging in Saturday night’s match against Essendon.
Molan says legislation needs to be brought in to punish offenders and says she has met with Communications Minister Paul Fletcher to push for change in the way social media companies police abusive messages on their platforms.
The TV presenter says once tougher laws are brought in, education needs to start in schools so young people know the potential consequences of online trolling.
“We go into schools and it’s wonderful, it’s lovely and we say to young kids, ‘If you are being bullied, you go tell a teacher or you just ignore it, you block them. You report them, don’t let it get to you, build your resilience’.
“No — we should be going into schools and telling every little kid, ‘If you bully online, if you write something online that isn’t true that hurts someone, if you threaten someone’s life online, if you use hate speech online, you’ll be getting offline, you’ll be going to juvenile detention, your prospects of getting a job later on will be almost zilch, you may not be able to travel overseas.
"Once you turn 18, if you keep doing it, you’ll be going to jail’. That’s what will work.”