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Back Me Up - Anti Cyberbullying Campaign & Competition

This is Jasper.  At 13, he was getting cyberbullied on line – particularly via X-box. After seven months of bullying that included death threats and being beaten at school, the police became involved. He was in a “very dark place".

This is Troy, friend to both Jasper and his bully – he didn’t    realise his mate could be so cruel. Troy says he noticed Jasper becoming quiet, depressed and isolated. Once Troy realised what was going on, he was able to be a supportive friend through the low times. They remain the best of mates.

In Australia, at least one in ten students say they’ve experienced cyberbullying.

What is BackMeUp?

The message of the BackMeUp campaign is that young people can take positive and safe action if they witness cyberbullying, and can support those whose rights have been violated. It’s a call to action to the friends, peers and colleagues on the sidelines, because being a witness, and doing nothing, is wrong.

Cyberbullying is bad for your mental and physical health. In an effort to help young people overcome cyberbullying, the Australian Human Rights Commission is helping young people understand the role of bystanders and encouraging them to take (safe) actions to support those who are bullied. 

Research shows that peers are present as bystanders in 87% of bullying situations among young people, suggesting that peers have a pivotal role in effecting a bad situation, simply because they are a witness.  While most students dislike and disapprove of bullying and would like to see it stop, less than 20% of students intervene to help the person being bullied.

And without becoming a target themselves, bystanders can take a variety of positive actions. 

What Can Bystanders Do?

A witness to a bullying situation can ask a teacher or trusted adult for help, let the person doing the bullying know that what they are doing is bullying, refuse to join in,  and can comfort the student who has been bullied. When positive bystander action occurs, students report a greater sense of safety at school and fewer social and mental health problems.

Here’s some practical things you can do:

Save It! Take a photo, screenshot, make a diary note. The person being bullied may not know how to or the importance of saving the evidence. You can help them by keeping a record of when and where the cyberbullying is happening, and what happened. If it gets really nasty, you might need to get school, work or the police involved.

Speak Up! Take positive action in ways that make you feel comfortable and safe. If you feel safe, tell the person bullying to stop. The person may be bullying people because no one has ever stood up to them and called them out on what they are doing.

Otherwise tell someone you trust like a teacher or parent about what is happening and get advice about how you can help stop the bullying behaviour.

Be supportive! You could respond by sticking up for the person being bullied in an open way, but if this sounds too challenging or scary, you could also send a private message or text to the person being bullied to show you support them.

Let them know that they are not alone and that they can get help by talking to a supportive teacher, parent or guardian, organisations that have helped many teens deal with online problems.

Report It! Most sites have ways to report bullying. There  is information on the BackMeUp site that can help you report cyberbullying directly to the website that you are using.

Check it! The person being bullied might not know about privacy settings. Let them know that they can change these so that their info is only viewed by friends and family. Also let them know they can block a user or even delete a so-called “friend” at any time.

Make a Video and Make a Difference

The Commission is inviting 13 – 17 year olds to make a short two minute video about how they can back-up someone who has been cyberbullied. All details are on the something in common website Entries close on 15 August 2012 and winners are announced on Monday 3 September 2012. 

Ten winners will receive a week-long, all-expenses paid trip to Sydney to attend a prestigious film-making workshop at the National Institute of Dramatic Art (NIDA).   There are also weekly winners and prizes!

Entries from the video competition will form part of an ongoing educational strategy that will be used not only by the Commission but stakeholders and partners. Young people teaching young people – we love that!

Who is Supporting BackMeUp?

This is a project from the Australian Human Rights Commission. MTV’s Ruby Rose and former Australia’s Got Talent contestant Cody Bell are ambassadors for the campaign.  BackMeUp supporters include Australian Communication and Media Authority,  YHA, Kids Helpline, UNICEF, Alannah and Madeline Foundation, headspace, Inspire Foundation, Bullying. No Way!, Scouts Australia,  Girl Guides Australia, Foundation for Young Australians, Lawstuff, Facebook Australia and Google.

 

The message is…backing someone up isn’t easy but there are lots of things that you can do! Dig deeper. Take action.