Shocking NSW cyber bullying figures show more education needed in schools

in Press Releases

Media Statement - Thursday 10 November, 2016

The Alannah & Madeline Foundation believes the staggering cyber bullying statistics published in today’s Daily Telegraph highlight the need for increased education on the devastating impact the behaviour can have.

The graphic descriptions of some of the incidents – including discussion of footage, highlighting a student being indecently assaulted, being posted online – are shocking. Unfortunately these incidents can occur on a regular basis.

With one in seven children suffering from cyber bullying, we know this is in an issue that needs to be taken seriously as victims of such appalling behaviour can suffer lifelong effects and in some cases become the perpetrator down the track.

We need to take this issue extremely seriously because our children now live and communicate online. Every school, every family and every government needs to understand the risks and reward of the internet and talk to children about its real-life consequences.

We believe the New South Wales Government’s reporting of cases is an important first step in addressing the issue as it highlights the very real issues schools, teachers and parents are facing.

For the past five years, the Foundation has worked with more than 2,300 schools around the country through our eSmart Schools framework, which uses a cultural change approach to improve cyber safety, increase digital literacy and reduce cyber bullying.

Unfortunately only 103 NSW schools are involved in eSmart Schools – which was developed by the Foundation to address growing community concerns about the misuse of digital technology. We believe eSmart Schools provides a great opportunity to educate schools and give teachers, parents and students the tools and confidence to prevent and address cyber bullying, reducing the number of these shocking statistics.

The Foundation is committed to supporting all schools in becoming cyber safe and would welcome the opportunity to bring eSmart Schools to more NSW schools. The Alannah & Madeline Foundation has already developed agreements with both the Victorian and Tasmanian governments, which fund eSmart Schools in their respective states.

The Foundation has previously met with the New South Wales Government to ensure all of its schools receive the benefits of eSmart Schools.

Governments across the country need to work on developing a sensible and consistent approach to teaching students that any form of bullying is inappropriate, while promoting respectful relationships.

The negative impacts of bullying and cyber bullying to the community were discussed at our recent National Centre Against Bullying Conference (NCAB) in July, which highlighted both the psychological and physical consequences for children and adults alike. NCAB includes more than 20 of Australia leading researchers and academics who have dedicated their professional lives to reduce the impact of bullying across the country.

For more information on the eSmart Schools or the National Centre Against Bullying please go to amf.org.au.

Media inquiries contact Adrian Bernecich: 0416 045 701 or adrian.bernecich@amf.org.au.

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