Project tackles cyber bullying
THE faceless scourge of cyber bullying is a greater threat to children than the act of schoolyard victimisation.
Youth worker and project promoter Annette Hammond is determined to eradicate cyber bullying on the Fraser Coast altogether, by advocating the program in local schools as part of the Fraser Coast's new Cyber Safety Project.
“Online bullying is as fierce an issue for children as schoolyard bullying. But because cyber abuse usually occurs behind closed doors, people are not often aware that their child is being victimised.”
The program, which is being subsidised by the Youth Crime Prevention Program via the Hervey Bay Neighbourhood Centre, aims to steer children away from becoming online persecutors, while helping those who have been victimised via the internet.
“The internet, email, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and messaging are everyday parts of children's lives these days,” Ms Hammond said.
“Children need to know that there are safe places and how to deal with cyber bullies in the same way they deal with bullies in the school-yard.”
Councillor Belinda McNeven said: “A lot of cyber bullying occurs because of this Facebook phenomena. “Children are posting their feelings instantaneously, instead of taking the time to consider how they might make other people feel if they put such information up for the world to see. Kids need to think before they act. But the truth is it's just not OK to bully people.”
Hervey Bay's Cyber Safety Project committee recognised the problem bullying plays both in the schoolyard and over the internet and have given the project their utmost support.
“Fraser Coast youth workers have identified that cyber bullying is an emerging crime and hope this further initiative will help address the issue,” Ms Hammond said.
“I hope that by talking with youths I will be able to develop strategies to help parents and youths.”