Cyber bullying is the use of technology to bully an individual or a group with the intent to cause harm, which may be social, psychological and, in extreme cases, physical. Cyber bullying can cause fear, withdrawal, shame, guilt, loneliness and depression. It can be abusive texts and emails, hurtful messages, images or videos, imitating others online, excluding others online, and nasty online gossip and chat. (http://au.reachout.com/cyberbullying)
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Nearly 43% of kids have been bullied online. Over 25% of teens have been bullied repeatedly through text messages, 64% of teens bullied online report being harassed on Facebook and 29% have been harassed on Twitter. 21% of kids have received mean or threatening email or other forms of direct messages. Girls are about twice as likely as boys to be victims or perpetrators of cyber bullying. (http://nobullying.com/cyber-bullying-statistics-2014/)
A Personal Story
"I used to be one of the popular girls at school. I have a good family, I had friends, and I was good at sports. But by the end of year nine, I was really depressed and from time to time I was also suicidal. It all started because I was being cyber bullied. It began at the start of year nine, when I moved to a new high school, and there was a whole new group of friends. They were fun. Kind of wild. I just wanted to fit in, but the group I was with just bullied and threatened everyone. I admit now that I also joined in. But I learned that I wasn’t me and I tried to leave.
"They came after me in instant messages, and on Facebook groups pages came up like “People Who Think Lily is a Whore” and “People Who Think Lily's Family Should Die”. My mum knew something was wrong, and asked me for my Facebook password. I hid it for ages. I was embarrassed, I was always the girl who everybody liked, I couldn’t say I was being bullied.
"One day I finally gave in. My mum made me talk to a teacher at school about it. They recommended that I talk to kids helpline and it helped me at lot. After seeing the school counsellor I felt so much better with myself and the situation. She helped me take some positive steps in my life. I finally had the courage to stand up for myself again. It was a good feeling to know that I was not alone”
Lily 14, NSW
How we help
Mind Blank sees the value and importance of addressing cyber bulling as an issue. We have several education solutions if you are facing this as an issue in your school or community. The first option is we can run a one hour educational workshop. This workshop will question cyber bullying as a theme. It will equip young people with some online strategies for helping themselves (and a friend) in a time of need. This session will reaffirm the need to encourage a safe and supportive online youth community environment.
The second option is a theatre script. This questions anxiety as a topic while also addressing some elements of social exclusion and cyber bullying. This forum will question the strains of online pressures and identify some early warning signs of mental health imbalance. The end outcome of theatre piece is to provide some positive strategies to deal with such pressures and support a friend in a time of need.
Kate always thought she lived a pretty average life. She had a pretty average family and everything in her life remained relatively simple until one day. That was a day she will never forget. It all started when there was a new girl started at her school. All of a sudden Kate started noticing her best friends for years found their lives beginning to take different direction. They had been drawn into the online internet world. In the meantime Kate remained happy isolated in a world without social media.
If you need immediate help
- Talk with your school counsellor, teacher or parents
- ReachOut: http://au.reachout.com/cyberbullying
- Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800
- Cybersmart, Australian Human Rights Commission https://www.esafety.gov.au 1300 656 419