Cyber-mediated bullying

Cyberbullying is obviously an area of concern to students, parents, schools and anyone else associated with young people.

It is important to keep in mind that cyberbullying is generally an extension of bullying that is already occurring in an individual’s life. Alarmingly, studies show almost one in 5 Australian students are bullied by their peers. Therefore it is essential we equip young people with the skills to not only deal with bullying when it occurs, but also to encourage and develop in them the values and culture of looking out for others.

The Federal and State Government have initiated a number of useful programs, resources and websites, as have private organisations and individuals (see below). However, most of them are targeted at primary-age students and therefore promote parents to take on a substantial supervision and surveillance approach to their child’s internet and mobile use. This is more likely to foster an environment at home of suspicion and distrust. What is needed is “appropriate rules for appropriate maturity”.

Andrew Chua, a registered psychologist and secondary teacher, has catered specific engaging and informative presentations for:

> Junior secondary students,

> Senior secondary students,

> parents, &

> teaching staff.

Since 2008 Andrew’s presentation material has been delivered by Year 10 student leaders to Year 7s, the Victoria Police Community Policing and Youth Officers in various locations in Melbourne, and by Andrew himself.

Support material include business-card-sized reminders of the four ‘game cheats’ for a life of cybercoolness; posters that can be displayed in students spaces (such as computer labs); handout summaries for parents.