Australia adds anti-trolling education to national curriculum

Australian schoolkids will now be given lessons in online etiquette, in hopes of cutting down on the harassment that has become a hot-button issue in the country this month.


Kris Holt


Published Sep 21, 2012   Updated Jun 2, 2021, 10:42 am CDT

Pay attention, class: your anti-troll teacher is speaking.

Australia is looking into introducing anti-troll classes into the curriculum as part of a wider anti-bullying missive across the school system.

The move came from the very top, as Prime Minister Julia Gillard asked the authority responsible for Australia’s curriculum to add anti-trolling and anti-cyberabuse education into classes. She is hoping that measures to inform kids about the dangers and responsibilities they might face when using social networks are included in the curriculum.

“Whether it’s physical violence or online intimidation, we need to ensure that our kids learn the lesson early in life that this conduct can cause great harm and have real consequences,” Gillard said, according to the Herald Sun. “Through the national curriculum, Australia can make sure that every student in every school knows this behaviour is not on.”

The Australian Curriculum, Assessment and Reporting Authority is drafting an expanded Health and Physical Education and Civics and Citizenship curriculum, to be released next year.

Following a spate of high-profile incidents where well-known Aussie figures were targeted by trolls, Communications Minister Stephen Conroy accused Twitter of treating Australian law with contempt by failing to hand over data it holds on the individuals responsible for abusive messages.

This week, Twitter said it would work closely with law authorities to help track down those behind violent or self-harm threats, while providing data on other users to Aussie officials in certain cases. The country’s now looking into stricter telecommunications laws.

It’s not yet clear how anti-troll education will be incorporated into classes at a practical level, but one thing’s clear: those lessons’d sure beat high school biology.

Photo by audiolucistore/Flickr

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*First Published: Sep 21, 2012, 6:28 pm CDT