NSW Is this Cyber Bullying on Facebook?

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18 August 2015
If 3 high school individuals are talking to each other in a private conversation on Facebook at home about someone they dislike at school, without spreading or publicising any of their comments, and the person they are talking about finds out via somehow gaining access to one of the individual's Facebook account, are the individuals in the wrong? Are they entitled to their own personal opinions or is it considered cyber bullying?

Nothing was publicised and she found out by her own methods. I think it is an invasion of privacy. This is a real case, and the principal responded by suspended the 3 individuals for 4 days.

Was his decision lawfully correct?


Hi Richard 098,

Your actions do not have to be unlawful for a principal to suspend you from school. However, the definition of cyber bullying is quite broad and I would be very careful with what you do and say on social media. Check out this website: Cyberbullying: what is it and how to get help: Violence, Harassment and Bullying Fact sheet | Australian Human Rights Commission

Ultimately, you need to consider the potential consequences of your actions - whether or not its legal or whether its classified as cyber bullying, another person's life could be at stake. You don't know the effects of your actions on another individual. If she were to take her life as a result of bullying (which is a frightfully common occurrence), your involvement would be called into question. Bullying has the potential to have extremely harmful effects, and serious consequences for both the perpetrators and their victim.