Gossip websites outrage mother
BUNDABERG’S version of Gossip Girl took a vicious turn at the weekend with two websites reporting on local residents’ devious behaviour.
One of the sites, called Bundy Secrets, accused a Bundaberg mother of being unfit because of her partying habits, as well as a second woman of cheating on her boyfriend.
The second website, a MySpace page, asserted a woman had slept with her best friend’s boyfriend and accused a number of people of passing on sexually transmitted infections.
Both websites used first and last names and Bundy Secrets also displayed photos of the people under fire.
The NewsMail was able to access the sites on Sunday evening but both pages had been taken down by Monday morning.
The web pages have outraged Avenell Heights mother-of-five Gayle McDonald, who was alerted to the sites by her 17-year-old daughter.
“I was sickened, mainly because the first thing I thought was that children at that age are already vulnerable,” Ms McDonald said. “This could make a bad situation worse.”
Ms McDonald said she reported the MySpace page to the moderators immediately but did not know who to contact to complain about the Bundy Secrets site.
“I was horrified. It was somewhere where they could go just to be mean and angry,” she said.
Bundaberg Psychology Clinic psychologist Tracy Bauer said cyber bullying could cause an increase in anxiety and depression and also affect the victim’s confidence.
“The thing with cyber bullying is a lot of people are faceless because sources can be blocked, which means you cannot reply to it,” Ms Bauer said.
Ms Bauer said parents concerned about their child being cyber bullied should be on the lookout for signs such as changes in eating and sleeping habits and moods.
She encouraged parents to talk to their child to help minimise the effects of bullying.
“It is not about removing things like the phone or computer because then it punishes the child as well,” she said.
For more information on cyber bullying visit www.bullyingnoway.com.au.
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