Rome, May 18 (IANS/AKI) Parents’ associations and children’s charities have praised a new Italian law against cyber harassment that enables young people who are bullied online to have “trolling” comments speedily removed.
“The newly approved law is a step in the right direction which we have been hoping for for some time to protect minors from the perils of the Internet,” the Italian Parents’ Movement (MOIGE) said in a statement.
But swift implementation of the cyber bullying law with the involvement of parents was crucial to prevent it becoming a “dead letter”, MOIGE said.
“We expect the Internet giants to get unambiguously involved on the side of the parents now to rein in this social scourge,” MOIGE added.
Members of the Italian Parliament on Wednesday unanimously passed the cyber bulling law, which makes it illegal to post insults of defamatory messages against a minor online, or to blackmail them on the internet or steal their identities.
Children over the age of 14 years, and the parents of younger children can directly ask a website hosting abusive comments to remove them under the new law.
If the abuse content is still visible after 48 hours, an independent privacy guarantor will intervene with the site’s management within 48 hours.
Schools will appoint a reference teacher to combat cyber bullying and Italy’s Education Ministry will issue new guidelines every two years under the legislation.
The law was welcomed by Italy’s privacy watchdog for the protection of childhood, by its Telefono Azzurro helpline and by the Save the Children charity, which warned that one in 10 children are victims of cyber bullying.