Parents are being warned to educate their kids about the criminal repercussions of online trolling.
PARENTS are being warned to tell their kids they could face criminal convictions for online trolling after a Bendigo man was sentenced to jail for making an offensive Facebook page.
David McRory, 22, pleaded guilty in Bendigo Magistrates’ Court yesterday to using a carriage service to offend and publishing objectionable material online.
The court heard McRory and a friend, Joshua Turner, 22, started a Facebook page that rated the sexual performance of women from Central Victoria.
The defence counsel said in court that McRory – the Facebook page creator – did not mean to cause long-term harm.
But he was still given a four-month jail term, which the magistrate said would send a strong message to the public about what was acceptable behaviour online.
Law Institute of Victoria spokesman Robert Stary said the rare ruling was becoming more common and warned parents to educate their kids now.
“The law has always been behind the rapid change in social media,” Mr Stary said.
“But we are in a new era when the law slowly catches up with reality.
“Any parent would see as a result of this case that they have a responsibility to intervene and monitor what is being said online by their child.”
Mr Stary said the number of cyber cases being prosecuted would continue to rise and said parents needed to act now.
He also called for better education in Victorian schools to drive home the risks to teens.
McRory’s lawyers said they would appeal against the sentence.
Turner faced court in July and was given a wholly suspended six-month prison sentence and was also banned from using Facebook for two years.
His case is currently under appeal.