Care needed in updating of criminal code

A Senate inquiry is examining the adequacy of existing cyberbullying offences.
A Senate inquiry is examining the adequacy of existing cyberbullying offences.

A children's foundation has warned updating the criminal code to crack down on cyberbullying should not unfairly criminalise youngsters.

A Senate inquiry about the adequacy of existing cyberbullying offences in national, state and territory criminal laws, will hold a hearing in Canberra on Friday.

Representatives from the Alannah & Madeline Foundation will give evidence.

While supportive of new anti-cyberbullying laws, the foundation says they must be nuanced enough to take into account the context and reality of children and young people's lives.

"The recent sexting laws wrongly stigmatised some young people as peddlers in child pornography and gave them a criminal record as a result," the foundation said in its submission.

The foundation suggested a new federal cyberbullying law could be based on the current Commonwealth workplace bullying definition and could apply to both young people and adults while including different sentence parameters.