The Queensland Government has turned the spotlight on bullying, appointing a 14-member taskforce to draw on proven research and strategies to reduce the incidence of face-to-face and online bullying and to empower young people to tackle the issue with their peers.
Brisbane journalist and author Madonna King, whose latest book Being 14, lifted the lid on the impact social media and 24-7 e-connection is having on teen girls, will chair the taskforce.
Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said bullying was impacting “on too many Australians” and urged the community “to work together” to address the issue.
“I want to ensure we help Queensland kids and their parents and guardians to deal with the issues of cyberbullying, by ensuring we have the tools and strategies available to them.”
The taskforce will consult with experts, children, parents and schools to develop an evidence-based framework that covers all forms of bullying. It will also identify community-based strategies and initiatives that are already working to reduce bullying.
The taskforce will deliver its report to government by the end of August 2018.
Queensland school children will also be asked to take part in a survey about their experiences of cyberbullying by the Queensland Family and Child Commission between March and June.
A recent Kids Helpline survey of 395 young people found 58% had been cyberbullied.
However, yourtown/Kids Helpline’s Head of Strategy and Research John Dalgleish said the line between bully and victim was being blurred, with 52% of children surveyed confirming they had been both a victim and pepetrator of cyberbullying.
“This suggests cyberbullying takes place because of breakdowns in peer relationships,” Mr Dalgleish said.
“It also highlights that education is exceptionally important to give our kids the skills to develop and maintain respectful peer relationships and learn legitimate pathways to achieve meaningful conflict resolution.”
Queensland Health has put together advice for parents about the warning signs that indicate their child could be the victim of cyberbullying.
For more information and support:
- Lifeline – phone 13 11 13
- Kids Helpline – phone 1800 551 800 for free and confidential counselling for young people aged 5-25
- Parentline – phone 1300 301 300 for support, counselling and parent education
- Office of the eSafety Commissioner – complaints about cyberbullying
- Office of the eSafety Commissioner iParent Portal
- Information and resources for students, parents and teachers about bullying can also be found on Bullying, No Way!