ONE of the latest tragic victims of cyberbullying was 15-year-old Nate Bronstein.
A pupil at a prestigious private school in Chicago, he suffered relentless online abuse from his classmates, and eventually took his own life.
In Australia the cases of cyberbullying are on the rise with a recent national survey of 3500 young people revealing that 45 per cent of respondents had experienced hurtful and bullying behaviour online in the past 12 months.
To help prevent online bullying, Curtin University second-year digital marketing students have developed the #STOP cyberbullying campaign, led by the Youth Legal Service.
As part of the campaign, young people are being urged to call out online bullying by using #STOP on social media.
Curtin student Kristen Sly, 22, helped create the campaign and is now working at the Youth Legal Service.
“The main thing I’ve learnt about being involved in a campaign like #STOP cyberbullying is that so many young Australians are involved in the internet in one way or another from such a young age, and it’s really important to understand the signs when you’re being cyber bullied, and to let someone else know who could help,” she says.
“It is so important to me because now I can help others around me and can help spread positive comments online.
“One thing I took away from helping with this campaign is that you are not alone even though it may feel like it, and the importance of reaching out and building resilience online as people say very hurtful things hiding behind a screen.”
Curtin University’s Dr Fazlul Rabbanee said young people were crucial in shaping the #STOP campaign.
“Social media is one of the primary sources of information for young people and can leave them more susceptive to bullying and trolling, which can cause anxiety and depression,” he says.
“It is crucial to take the advice of young people as part of any new campaigns to stop such unwanted online behaviour for the greater wellbeing of young people.
“Our second-year digital marketing students went above and beyond to support this project led by the Youth Legal Service and Tonic Digital, and we have been thoroughly impressed with their efforts.”
For more info go to stopcyberbullying.org.au