There are significant repercussions for each individual who is touched by cyber bullying.
“Students are so concerned and anxious about what is happening, they become disengaged from their learning,” Margaret says. “I’ve talked to a number of students over the years who are uncertain if someone in their class is the person who’s instigated the bullying. It’s 24/7 exposure. We know from the Australian Psychological Society Stress and Wellbeing survey in 2015, almost one in four report being heavy social media users, with a greater percentage of those being constantly connected. Reconciling this is quite a worry as an educator.
“My goal, and the goal of the community of students, staff and alumni who help to coordinate this project is to educate our students and in the process teach them about professional identity. We want to help them develop graduate attributes as they are learning so that when they are a part of the workforce they are very aware of safe engagement and professionalism online.”
“The goal of the community of students, staff and alumni who help to coordinate this project is to educate our students and in the process teach them about professional identity.”
Dr Margaret Carter
Collaboration is the key
Margaret’s magic lies not only in her deep passion for raising awareness of preventing cyber bullying and its effects, but in her ability to promote sustainable collaboration.
“Our project is cross-institutional,” she says. “It involves students studying different degrees collaborating to present a project that they believe will add value to the site. It links in with the different services that the university provides, and involves staff from various areas within the university. We have student buy in, we have industry input and we are relevant as the students inform content and site design. That’s the key to raising the awareness”.
The Australian Counselling Association has recognised the Preventing Cyber Bullying project as one of many invaluable resources for the online world. As well as this, the Australian Government has acknowledged the project as a partner with its Stay Smart Online initiative.
In our efforts to prevent cyber bullying, communication is the key. Collaboration is paramount. Raising awareness through education is the solution.