News

15-01-2018

The 14 year-old girl, who was once the face of Australian hat maker Akubra took her own life because of bullying. The family of Amy Everett, known as Dolly, invited the social media trolls to attend her funeral to see the devastation they had caused.

Regardless of whether your child is a target, bystander or perpetrator of cyberbullying behaviour, parents have several resources available on-line to help understand how to respond to the situation and take action. Bullying is serious and is happening in the real world and cyberbullying happens to almost one in five young Australians every two weeks. Bullying results in serious damage to physical, social and emotional health. Those who bully over time are more likely to engage in anti-social behaviour substance abuse, have low academic performance and be involved in future child or spouse abuse. some young people who are victims of bullying then bully others.

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner ( Esafety.govau) was established in 2015 to coordinate and lead online safety efforts across all aspects of the community. Most social media services have rules prohibiting cyberbullying and offer a complaints tool where you can ask for cyberbullying material to be removed. If they do not remove the material within 48 hours of receiving your report, you can complain to the eSafety Office, who will contact the social media service and request the material be removed, the office can also help make a compliant, find someone to talk to and provide advice and strategies for dealing with the issue.

A summary of the advice given by the Esafety Office in responding to cyberbullying is:

  • Don't panic. It is important to respond calmly rather than react in a negative way after learning that your child is being bullied. Try to process your emotions and figure out an appropriate response
  • Listen, connect, gather  information and pause. empathise with your child and let them know that their feelings of hurt, anger or fright are normal. gather evidence about the severity of the bullying and reassure your child that once you have had time to think, you will talk through some options
  • Stay connected to family, trusted friends and activities. These remind your child that they are loved and lovable
  • Show that you care. Check-in with your child from time-to-time about how they are going. Keep an eye on their eating, sleeping concentration and overall mood. Seek help from a psychologist or mental health professional if you notice sustained changes.
  • Protect. If your child is being threatened or if they indicate they may wish to harm themselves, they need to be protected. call the police immediately if their physical safety is at risk. If they have marked behaviour changes, the school is likely to have a policy in place to help manage the issue. Cyberbullying can be reported to the social media service and the Esafety Office.
  • Talk over the options. help guide your child in their decision rather than telling them what to do. try to empower your child to make wise decisions for themselves and if you feel they may be struggling the kids helpline can also provide confidential advice and support.
  • Slow things down. The internet speeds everything up including the bullying process. Slowing your own response times will encourage your child to slow or stop their responses too.

Other resources are available at cybersafetysolutions.com.au including a regular newsletter and cyber safety fact sheets to download and share.

 

Reach out if you feel affected by the news and events happening around you. Many services are available to listen and support you.

lifeline : 13 11 14 , www.lifeline.org.au

Suicide Call back Service : 1300 659 467, www.suicidecallbackservice.org.au

Mensline Australia : 1300 78 99 78, www.mensline.org.au

Kids Helpline : 1800 55 1800, www.kidshelpline.com.au

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