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Here at Read The Play we think it is important to talk about cyber bullying and the impact it can have on your mental health.

We have joined up with CyberCats by the Geelong Cats to try and reduce bullying online.

According to Reach Out, 1 in 5 young people report they have been cyber bullied, however, according to surveys done by Cybercats, 90% of year 7’s in the Geelong region have experiences some sort of negative behaviour online.

So, what is cyber bullying?

Cyber bullying comes in all different forms.

Essentially, cyber bullying is anything negative posted to the internet that has the intent, or could be perceived to be hurtful to another person.

Young people who experience cyber bullying are more likely to experience:

  • Low self-esteem
  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Loneliness
  • Anger
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Alcohol and other drug use
  • Less social engagement

How can we reduce the impact of cyber bullying? We all have a role to play!

When it comes to the internet, it is important that you ask yourself a few questions before you post something that may be perceived as offensive or cruel.

Ask yourself:

  • How well do I know this person and how will they react to my post? (a joke with one friend can be interpreted as very differently by others)
  • Do I know for sure how they will take my comments?

Yes – post as long as you have good intentions

No – do not post (you do not know how a comment may impact someone)

Do you feel affected by something that has been posted online?

It can be difficult to stand up for yourself, especially when you feel you have limited support from others. Here are some ways to try and protect yourself and get help.

  • Do not react and try not to respond online
  • Take screenshots of the message/post, in case the bullying continues and you need evidence
  • Check your privacy settings to make sure your information is protected
  • Tell someone, particularly, a trusted adult
  • Report the bully to the social media site and block them
  • Report it to the eSafety Commissioner

And, what can you do to support someone who is being bullied?

Now, I know that not everyone is confident in standing up to bullies in the public space of the internet? That is okay. Here are some other ways to offer support:

  • Sent the person a message or talk to them in person. Let them know you care about them and don’t agree with what is happening.
  • Remind them that they are brave and it is okay to talk about it.
  • Help them collect and save the evidence eg. Screenshots.
  • Suggest they block and report the cyber bully.
  • Help them check their privacy settings so their information is protected.
  • Together, talk to a trusted adult and tell them what is going on.
  • Encourage your friend to seek professional support, if needed.

If you are looking for any more information or support for cyber bullying please consider accessing any of these websites:

Young and eSafe

Bullying. No Way!

Youth Law Australia

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