Linda Barry from national children’s charity, the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, recently presented to the 16th annual International Bullying Prevention Conference in Chicago.
Aimed at experts working in schools in roles including teaching, counselling and psychology, the theme of this year’s conference was Kindness & Compassion: Building Healthy Communities.
Linda was invited by Google to speak on the Foundation’s partnership with Supre Foundation around image-based bullying in teenagers.
The charitable arm of Australia’s largest global retailer, the Cotton On Group, the Supre Foundation works to empower girls around the world by funding programs that educate and support them.
The vision behind the partnership was to raise awareness and change perceptions within the community relating to youth online relationships.
“We wanted to promote respect and highlight social inequalities relating to gender through healthy online relationships and interactions,” Linda said.
The research around the Share This! Image based bullying. So not ok campaign came from in-depth workshops in schools for students aged 14 to 16, and parent workshops.
Supre conducted a national marketing campaign throughout its stores and promoted it to its extensive online community. A mini-booklet and microsite were developed and there was in-store launch event, a media program and a ‘social ambush’ using influencers, including ambassadors.
Data from the workshops revealed that one in five young women have experienced image-based bullying, and one in five Australian adults have been sent a nude that was shared without permission. Thirty-three per cent of those people said their name had been shared with the nude. More than 75 per cent did not take any action.
Around 11 per cent of Australian adults have experienced image-based bullying – 15 per cent for girls aged 15 to 17.
“The campaign worked because it was co-designed by young people together with educators and marketers,” Linda said.
“The campaign also acknowledged the reality of young people’s worlds. Just telling them not to send nudes isn’t going to work.”
Teachers reported they were happy the workshops were run by outside facilitators as they tended to focus on the legal aspects as they other issues were too sensitive.
A classroom discussion rather than an auditorium lecture saw a face-to-face deliberation which could explore the issues from different angles, Linda said.
“It forced young people into having discussions from other perspectives, which generated empathy. Facilitators reported that it was the second workshops which really made the most difference.”
The campaign will continue through more workshops being delivered around the country. We want to empower young people to make informed decisions and build resilience through education.”
“The next phase in development between the two foundations is to work on continual improvement in the workshop deliverance”, Linda said.
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