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Cyber-Bullying: a Joint Concern for Parents and Schools - Report


4 June 2012 at 1:25 pm
Staff Reporter
The relationship between parents and schools is critical in educating and addressing cyber-bullying among young people, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS).

Staff Reporter | 4 June 2012 at 1:25 pm


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Cyber-Bullying: a Joint Concern for Parents and Schools - Report
4 June 2012 at 1:25 pm

The relationship between parents and schools is critical in educating and addressing cyber-bullying among young people, according to a new report from the Australian Institute of Family Studies (AIFS).

AIFS researcher and manager of information exchange at the Child Family Community Australia (CFCA), Elly Robinson, said schools should work closely with parents and share responsibility for what happens outside the classroom, as cyber-bullying incidents tend to occur outside school hours in a 24/7 hour nature.

“Schools are increasingly recognising that cyber-bullying is more likely to happen outside of, rather than in school. As a result there is an increased trend for schools to be prepared to share responsibility for what happens outside school hours to ensure continuity of care,” said Robinson.

Parents also play an important role in addressing and preventing cyber-bullying by learning to use social media and other technologies, said the study.

“It is important that parents find a balance between monitoring behaviours and allowing young people to independently and age-appropriately negotiate their own boundaries,” said Robinson.

The Kids Helpline, run by Not for Profit organisation ‘Boystown’, offer a program called “Kids Helpline @ School” for primary-school aged students. General manager Wendy Protheroe said it gives students the chance to discuss issues such as bullying, sadness and anxiety with a qualified counsellor.

“We know that bullying, and cyberbullying, can have serious impacts on young people including low self-esteem, anxiety, sadness, fear, anger and embarrassment,” Protheroe said.

“In extreme cases it can result in self-injuring behaviour or thoughts of suicide.”

The AIFS study highlights that there is no commonly-used definition for cyber-bullying, but that it can include: mean, nasty or threatening text messages, instant messages, pictures, video clips or emails that are sent directly to a person or others via a mobile phone or the internet. It is characterised by repetitive behaviour rather than one-off incidences.

The report estimates that between seven to 20 per cent of school-aged young people have experienced cyberbullying.

“It is important that parents find a balance between monitoring behaviours and allowing young people to independently and age-appropriately negotiate their own boundaries,” said Robinson.


 



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