Mayor Halsema hopes to tackle cyberbullies with ‘online restraining order’
With an ‘online restraining order’, Mayor of Amsterdam, Femke Halsema, wants to prevent bullies from contacting their targets online. . The mayor said to AT5 that she is very concerned about online shaming and its consequences.
The municipality is currently still investigating how such a ban can be made legally feasible. According to Halsema, ways to prosecute perpetrators are still “limited”. “We are in new territory for the police and the judiciary”, the mayor said.
Halsema said that the city is lagging behind in finding a solution to unacceptable behavior online. She remains hopeful, however, that drawing attention to the topic will sensitize adults. “You can see that thanks to public discussions, teachers and parents are quickly catching up on this subject.”
Online bullying can easily have very tragic consequences in real life. Earlier this year, 13-year-old Desteny jumped from the roof of her apartment in Amsterdam Zuidoost after intimate pictures of her circulated online. Oftentimes, girls are disowned by their families after such images are leaked.
On social media platforms, such as Instagram, Snapchat, Tiktok and Telegram sexual videos or photos are shared in most cases without the permission of the person in the image. Some 'exposing' groups contain more than 80 thousand people.
The people in the images are frequently shamed. “Girls are called cheap whores and their numbers are shared”, one student said to AT5.
Mayor Halsema now wants to “take a step” towards making social media platforms more aware of their responsibility in preventing online shaming.