Australia's eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant has called for cyber bullying to be addressed in the national school curriculum, after the agency's latest data revealed that one in five young people have been targeted online.
In a written speech to be delivered at the National Press Club in Canberra on Wednesday, Ms Grant said online safely had become "one of the primary parenting challenges of our time", with many parents at a loss over how to help their children navigate the fast-changing online environment.
"Less than half of parents feel confident dealing with cyber bullying, or managing online threats like contact with strangers – which we know that a quarter of Australian teenagers have experienced," she said. '
Ms Inman Grant said her office, which has been investigating complaints of online abuse since 2015, had marked an increase in the seriousness of reported incidents.
"Our experience shows that complaints are becoming much more complex, urgent, and serious," she said.
"In fact, about a quarter of the reports that have come into our office include direct threats of violence or harm targeted at a child."
The commissioner said the average age of complaints to her office by young people was 14 - the same age Dolly Everett was when she died last year in a suicide that sparked a national outcry.
Girls were targeted more often than boys, she said, while almost all of the incidents had "a nexus to social conflict within the school gates".
Ms Inman Grant said while there was "no quick fix or panacea" to the problem of online abuse - which required "full scale cultural change" - school communities had a key role to play.
"To help achieve this societal change, we need to reinforce key values with children in the home whilst integrating similar principles into the curriculum throughout a child’s pre-K-12 educational journey," Ms Inman Grant said.
"How can we really be preparing our children for the workforce of the future if we are not teaching them the skills and behaviours they will need to survive in this brave new online world?"
Image-based abuse campaigner Noelle Martin, who was targeted online in 2012 when she was 17, said parents must be careful not to blame children for posting images of themselves, or resort to social media bans.
And she said adults had an important role to play in shaping the culture of the internet.
"The way politicians talk to each other online, they are setting a really poor example for kids," Ms Martin said.
Project Rockit co-founder Lucy Thomas, who runs workshops in schools across Australia teaching students how to "stand up to hate", said any curriculum initiative must "put young people in the driver's seat" to be successful.
"When you go into a school and start talking about cyber bullying, you get eye-rolls," Ms Thomas said.
"But as soon as you start unpacking the things that matter to kids, why you might want to use social media and how to do it safely, they start to engage."
Cyber hate expert Ginger Gorman said online bullying was "an urgent problem ... made worse by how fast the internet has washed over this generation of parents - me included".
"We don't actually know how the technology works or what apps and platforms our kids are using and therefore tend to just turn a blind eye, hoping it'll work out okay," Ms Gorman, who is writing a book about predatory online trolls, said.
"And, of course, often it doesn't because the internet is a powerful tool to do harm. We need to be smarter than this and guide our kids through this. The internet is not a neutral tool."