It is easy for other students to get caught up in the flow when
one student starts to bully another. However, if another student
intervenes to assist the bullied student and provide support, as
well as report the matter to the school, steps can be taken
promptly and effectively to minimise the risk of harm.
The AHRC has launched a national campaign to encourage young
people to support their friends targeted by cyber bullying.
Prominent media personality, Ruby Rose from MTV, was herself
bullied as a student and is an ambassador for the campaign.
The campaign is focused about taking positive action when it is
known that someone is being cyber bullied. AHRC spokesperson Dr
Helen Szoke said:
"Bystanders are crucial to dealing with cyber bullying.
Taking positive action to support those who are being bullied leads
to less social and mental health problems as well as an increased
sense safety at schools."
The AHRC BackMeUp campaign is based on research by some of
Australia's foremost bullying experts. Research on bullying has
found that most bullying incidents occur in front of bystanders,
the majority of whom either feel powerless to act or actually
encourage the bullying.
The central focus of the BackMeUp campaign is a video
competition through Facebook where teenagers are encouraged to make
a video about how they could help someone who is being cyber
The BackMeUp campaign is a welcome focus on one of the primary
problems of cyber bullying, namely the feeling of social
If young people are encouraged to stick up for their friends
against bullying, that is likely to minimise the feeling of despair
and other emotional consequences suffered by victims of bullying
and empower them to take positive steps to avoid ongoing
Some strategies to counter cyber bullying which may assist
educational institutions include:
Educating students in social media issues.
Having a holistic approach involving teachers, students,
parents and others in the school community so that all stakeholders
are aware of the issues and address them in a coherent manner.
Spending time implementing policies to reinforce positive
Those in leadership positions keeping up to date with
technological changes and patterns in online student behaviour so
that any changes in the way that students attempt to bully one
another can be effectively countered.
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