Be Bold Stop Bullying Facebook Campaign Launch
- Minister for School Education
- Minister for Early Childhood and Youth
I am really pleased to be here with you to launch the Facebook Bullying Prevention Campaign: Be Bold, Speak Up.
A 2009 Edith Cowan University report on covert bullying gave us a staggering statistic: one in six students are bullied weekly.
A quarter of students between Year 4 and Year 9 reported being bullied at least once over the few weeks the research was undertaken.
One in five students has experienced some form of cyber-bullying.
This means every family either has a child, or knows one, who is being bullied at school.
We know that the use of hand-held devices and social media has led to the rise of cyber-bullying.
In short, these types of media provide a new way, and potentially a more destructive way, for young people to exercise power over others.
No child should have to go through this.
These sorts of behaviours and actions can have a devastating effect on our vulnerable young people, more so because they can be, and often are connected 24/7.
I applaud Facebook for recognising that cyber-bullying is a key concern for everyone, including many in the audience today.
If we really want to take a stand against cyber-bullying, we must all work together. And this is a big step in the right direction.
What we say, and what we do, does matter.
Today is about you making a decision; and it’s one of the most important decisions you will make in your life.
It’s a decision to be someone who is compassionate and someone who cares about others.
It’s a decision every young person has to make at some point of growing up.
It’s your choice.
The government is committed to helping our young people to do this, and supporting them to use technology in positive and productive ways, to make the right choices.
New technologies can help us to raise awareness of bullying and get our young people on board so they do not accept anti-social behaviours.
Facebook is a universal tool for people to connect with each other, create new bonds and stay in touch with our loved ones.
There are over 11 million Facebook users in Australia alone.
But there have been instances of it being used to hurt someone.
And we need to help educate our kids about the impact this can have on people.
We have a world-wide challenge, with new technologies making bullying easier and spreading its reach beyond the school gates. The problem no longer stops and starts with the school bell.
As the Education Minister, but also as a parent, I know we have to do everything we can to prevent these sorts of things from happening.
This is why we are launching this campaign here today.
The main feature of the Facebook campaign is a Social Pledge App; a public statement saying ‘I will not be a bully’.
Since the campaign was launched overseas, more than 140,000 people have taken the pledge and over 1 million people in the USA have ‘liked’ the page.
Just stop and think: someone you know, it could even have been you,—will have experienced some form of bullying.
I can remember that day as a young person when I realised the world was made of very different personalities.
I saw the ones who chose to put others down; and those who turned their back on people crying for help.
But mostly I saw those people who truly cared, who had the ability to make you smile on the inside.
They are the people who listen, who watch your back and make you feel good to be you.
For all of us we can choose to be like them.
The best ways to address bullying come from strong partnerships across the whole community, young people, parents and schools.
You might ask me what the Government is doing about this?
We've done a lot so far as a government to take a stand against bullying.
I’ve launched and supported the National Day of Action Against Violence and Bullying.
We’re working with states and territories governments to encourage all schools to take up the National Safe Schools Framework.
This framework is a world first of its kind. It helps schools deal more effectively with bullying, cyberbullying, violence, harassment and discrimination.
We’ve invested more than $125 million to develop a Cybersafety Plan, which raises the awareness of how you can deal with cybersafety issues.
This includes the Cybersafety Help Button—a fantastic, free application that puts cybersafety information at your fingertips.
And the Cybersmart Online Helpline—operated by the Kids Helpline—to help kids who are being bullied.
Another key part of the Cybersafety Plan is the Consultative Working Group on Cybersafety.
Facebook is a member of this important group, which looks at the online challenges our Australian children face and provides advice to the Government on how to keep kids safer.
There is also a youth advisory group made up of young people that give advice to the Government.
It’s really important that the government listens to the voice of young people and takes action that will make a difference.
On the 2nd National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence held in March this year I launched the refreshed Bullying No Way! website.
I also launched the Take a Stand Together mobile phone application. This app helps you to Take a Stand against bullying and gives you access to a range of good advice.
These excellent tools show young people, teachers and parents how to identify and deal with bullying, and includes interactive games and lots of information and useful web links.
And as well I recently announced that we are investing nearly $4 million to develop an online and interactive ‘Safe and Supportive School Tool Kit’ with useful resources for teachers, parents and students.
All of these initiatives are about helping schools, students, families and communities work together to keep kids safe.
Now is the time for everyone, and I mean everyone, to say ‘no to bullying.’
The decision starts with all of us.
I’m calling on students all across Australia who have a facebook account to download the Pledge App by the next National Day of Action Against Bullying and Violence on the 15 March next year.
Join me. Let’s act now and show the rest of Australia, and the world, that we are making a difference.
Be Bold, Speak Up, and stand up, take the pledge, as we join together to take a stand against bullying.