Coalition calls for more research on Internet addiction

An E-Safety Commissioner would invite research on Internet addiction and other academic research on online safety.

Liberal MP Paul Fletcher has again called for the creation of a Children’s E-Safety Commissioner to deal with Internet addiction.

The commissioner would invite research on Internet addiction and other academic research on online safety. It would also assess and certify online safety programs in schools.

“The Internet game Runnescape has been identified in media reports as creating addictive behaviour by some of its users. One mother has told of her son playing the game on average 16 hours a day – and sometime up to 25 hours at a stretch,” he said in a statement.

“The Coalition’s Online Safety Working Group has found that a surprisingly large amount is unknown about the impact of ‘Internet immersion’ on the health and well-being of children.”

The Coalition’s Online Safety Working Group Discussion Paper was released in November 2012 and suggested the government could work with the Internet and communications industry to respond to problems such as online harassment and bullying through social media.

It is calling for comment on proposals such as introducing branding on phones to convey whether they are appropriate for children or not.

“Psychiatrists and psychologists to whom we spoke highlighted concerns about Internet addiction. The issue of whether Internet addiction is a mental illness is one that the medical community are debating,” Fletcher said.

Last week Prime Minister Julia Gillard announced new guidelines for handling complaints on social media, which the government has dubbed the ‘protocol’ [PDF].

Submissions to the discussion paper close 29 March, 2013.

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3 Comments

Mark Miller

1

Such steps are most welcome and it makes an ideal case for installing some kind of parental control app also at home that prohibits kids from watching unwanted stuff. I already have one installed called Qustodio and I use it to block bad content as also watch who my son talks to on Facebook. It shows me the profile pictures of accounts that he interacts with. With measures such as these, I hope I can keep him away from such nasty stuff. You can Google for it.

idryss

2

This is nothing more than a glorified press release. Where are the facts? Research? And since when did the govt become mum or dad. Don't want your kid playing games that much?? Stop them. Stop expecting a nanny state.

gnome

3

@idryss, it seems they don't need research or facts when they assume they're on a mission from God or something to impose their views on all of us.

It's quite amusing that Fletcher is calling ('again') for Nanny to wag a reproving finger; the Opposition have previously criticised Labor for - wait for it - wanting to impose more Nanny-state nonsense elsewhere.

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