New campaign against cyberbullying
The Australian Human Rights Commission has launched a national campaign to encourage young people to support their friends who are being cyberbullied.
Entitled BackMeUp the central focus of the campaign is a video competition where teenagers are encouraged to make a short video about how they could help someone who is being cyberbullied.
Ambassador to the campaign, MTV's DJ Ruby Rose says she is passionate about the campaign because she was severely bullied at school.
"School for me was horrible! I was verbally abused, I was physically abused and I ended up hospitalised," DJ Ruby Rose says in a video on the BackMeUp Facebook page.
She goes on to say she suffered severe depression and suicidal thoughts and if it hadn't been for a few pupils who alerted teaching staff to her plight she might not be here today.
Australia’s Got Talent contestant Cody Bell is also an ambassador for the campaign.
Bell says he was bullied at school, but was lucky enough to have support from some friends and family; he also fell back on his love of singing to get him through.
Research on bullying has found the vast majority of bullying incidents occur in front of bystanders; the majority either feel powerless to act or actually encourage the bullying.
Commission spokesperson Dr Helen Szoke says the BackMeUp campaign is aboutgetting bystanders to take action when they find someone is being cyberbullied.
“Bystanders are crucial to dealing with cyberbullying. Taking positive action to support those who are being bullied leads to less social and mental health problems as well as an increased sense of safety at schools,” Szoke says.
The campaign is supported by a wide range of partners including Kids Helpline, UNICEF, Headspace, Inspire Foundation, Alannah and Madeleine Foundation, ACMA, Facebook Australia, Bullying. No Way! Scouts Australia, Girl Guides Australia, Foundations for Young Australians, Lawstuff YHA, NIDA and Google.
Ten winners of the BackMeUp video competition will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Sydney, with their parents/guardians, to spend a week at NIDA creating a professional short film. Students can also win JB HiFi vouchers weekly.
Entries close August 15, 2012.
More information on the BackMeUp Campaign can be found at these links:
facebook.com/2012backmeup and somethingincommon.gov.au/backmeup
About the Author
Ron Hughes is the editor of SA's only LGBTI magazine, blaze.