The Honourable Peter Garret MP yesterday reiterated the need to tackle bullying in schools. Quoting an Edith Cowan University Report from 2009 on covert bullying:
“One in six students are bullied weekly. A quarter of students between Year 4 and Year 9 reported being bullied at least once over the few weeks the research was undertaken. One in five students has experienced some form of cyber-bullying.”
Despite a number of excellent initiatives out there including the ‘Cybersmart’ website, the ‘Help’ button and ‘Bullying No-Way!’ bullying is still an issue, with growing concern regarding cyber bullying. In response to this Hon Peter Garret MP called for public comment on the issue of bullying to bring to the table at a forum on bullying being held today.
The question is ‘How do we get the message through to kids?’
A recent study led by Dr Laura Thomas of Edith Cowan University in conjunction with the Australian Human Rights Commission on cyber bulling (June 2012)* took the question to groups of students between 13-17 years old. The study tackled questions related to Bystander bullying, including:
• Removing barriers to taking positive action
• Motivating bystanders to take action
• Effective messages to communicate strategies
• Effective content to motivate bystander action and
• Effective platforms for communication with young people
The students came up with a number of strategies to take in acting against bullying. Fear of becoming the next target, rejection from peers and lack of knowledge were among the reasons provided for not taking bystander action.
Students indicated that they would be inclined to take action if among others; they know that their action would be supported by their peers, if they felt they would not become the next target if they took action and if they had a better understanding of the different levels of bullying.
Some key motivators for action included, knowing the victim, knowing what to do and where to get help from and having self-confidence.
The research also identified the Top 5 effective messages in communicating positive bystander action. The top being “Be a real friend, put cyber bullying to an end”.
Students indicated that personal stories about the ‘real –life impact’ of cyber bullying was effective in engaging them and would encourage greater uptake of action. A key factor stressed by the students was involvement of young people in ensuring that the messages being sent were meaningful and relevant to the audience at which they were aimed.
Finally the platforms reported as most effective for delivering information to young people were,
• “You tube videos and video trailers
• Television advertisements
• Combination of You Tube and advertisements
• Facebook campaigns
• School based activities, particularly student presentations”
No single strategy could be identified as being most effective rather a combination of the above strategies was thought to be the best method of engaging young people across the board.
Space Safe Pty Ltd, a Perth based company, working to create a positive culture of cyber safety, relates its success to the fact that their initiative Project p911 has incorporated these factors into their programme from the start.
“Kids listen to kids, and their peer group is incredibly important to them” says Gail Rose, teacher at Space Safe. “We are talking about an aspect of their daily lives, it makes sense to engage them from start to finish, ensuring that they are relating in a real and meaningful manner. Lecturing students on facts and expecting them to identify just doesn’t work”
Amanda Nella, Director: “At Space Safe students explore their experiences of cyber bullying together with research on the issue. They combine these to create a short advertisement to educate their peers on cyber bullying. The results are outstanding.”
Project P911 culminates in a Gala evening, showcasing the students work to the school community. From start to finish the students literally direct the process, with visits to the Green Screen studio requiring classes to work as a production team. The Gala night and promotion is student led and the advertisements are uploaded to the school website
for peers and parents to view.
It is an enjoyable educational experience with a serious edge.
For further information contact:
Amanda Nella 0433 466 916
Gail Rose 0439 948 145
Space Safe Pty Ltd
Welcome to Space Safe. We are a company committed to educating and empowering the community with regards to cyber-safety initiatives and anti bullying strategies for children and students at home and at school, and adults in the workplace. It is our mission to provide resources, information and practical assistance to create a stronger civic responsibility for the safety of our community both online and in the physical world.
P: 0433 466 916