How to deal with cyber-bullying: Expert explains
NO CHILD under the age of 13 should have social media accounts, an expert on bullying says.
The advice comes from Ipswich researcher James Scott, as the closing date for submissions to a special taskforce on cyberbullying nears.
Professor James Scott is a leading researcher at The Park Centre for Mental Health who has just won an award for his work.
He said the best way to tackle bullying was prevention, starting before kids hit their teenage years.
"If you're telling teens not to bully each other, you've missed the boat," Prof Scott said.
"Prevention is really about parents getting involved with kids and teaching them that a digital record is kept forever, and that what they say online can have an enormous impact on others."
Prof Scott said when it came to bullying, no one had all the answers.
"That's frightening," he said.
"But the research suggests it's about getting back to basics. Just as good parenting teaches us about social skills, and how to treat each other, those are the skills we need to teach around behaviour online."
Prof Scott said kids under 13 shouldn't have social media accounts. For parents who believe their child is bullying others, taking away their technology can be a reasonable punishment but if the situation is serious, outside help and intervention is warranted.
"It's about logical consequences. Take the technology away and make them earn it back," Prof Scott said.
"There are no set guidelines but logical consequences need to be carried out in the context of an explanation as to why the behaviour is a concern and why actions have been taken."
Prof Scott said most kids would experience bullying and while some would be able to brush it off, others would find the experience damaging.
"Kids sometimes won't tell their parents about bullying because they feel a sense of shame - because with cyber bullying it is often public, that adds to the shame," Prof Scott said.
Did you know?
- Australia has an eSafety commissioner with power to remove online content. The Commission also offers a complaints service for young Australians who experience serious cyber bullying. See esafety.gov.au.
Note: Professor Scott is a member of the Premier's Anti-cyberbullying taskforce but spoke to the QT as a researcher.
Have your say on cyber-bullying
PARENTS are running out of time to lodge their submissions on cyber-bullying.
In February, the State Government announced a 14-member task force to tackle the growing issue of cyberbullying, part of a national campaign. The taskforce is being chaired by journalist and author Madonna King but includes academics, teachers, politicians, researchers and mental health professionals.
Until Friday, June 1, parents and members of the public can still lodge submissions on their own ideas and experiences, relating to bullying.
Submissions can be uploaded online or via email.
Go to campaigns.premiers.qld.gov.au/antibullying/taskforce/ to find out more.
The Anti-Cyberbullying Taskforce is due to report on its findings in August.
Need to talk? Try Kids Helpline on 1800 55 180 or Parentline on 1300 30 1300.