Alarming bullying rate hitting region’s kids hard

STOP THE BULLYING… The statistics for young people being bullied in Greater Shepparton are astounding, but it doesn’t stop at the school gates, as the rise in youth experiencing cyberbullying is also causing major concern. Photo: Katelyn Morse.

WITH thousands of students kicking off the 2019 school year this week, there is no better time to turn your attention towards the alarming local bullying statistics.

According to information released by Victorian Child and Adolescent Monitoring System, a massive 24.8 percent of students between years 7 and 9 in the Greater Shepparton local government area reported being bullied in the 2016 year, with a rise to 25.2 percent in the 2017 year.

Many years ago in my secondary college years, I was subjected to bullying. I am not quite sure why some people felt the need to endlessly attack me on my personality, the way I dressed, the things I liked or to throw random and cruel words at me, but I do remember at the time this type of behaviour making my time at school not as enjoyable as I could have experienced.

This is the day-to-day life being lived by so many across our region and indeed the world…but there is one big difference with today’s society. While I had the opportunity to go home and switch off, social media and other online mediums are meaning that once leaving school, today’s kids are still being subjected to cyberbullying…a 24 hour, non-stop barrage of being terrorised.

New research by youth service, ReachOut shows that up 380,000 young people were cyberbullied in Australia last year. Up to 162,000 young people turned to their parents for help; up to 64,000 sought help from a mental health professional; and up to 49,000 turned to their GP.

The survey results also indicated that young people experience cyberbullying as part of their daily life, including at home, at after school activities, at school and travelling to and from school.
The findings are based on a nationally representative survey of 1,000 Australian young people aged between 14 and 25.

ReachOut CEO, Ashley de Silva said this was more evidence that cyberbullying was not just about online safety, it’s a public health concern.

“Australian parents told us earlier this year they were more worried about their kids using social media and technology than drugs, alcohol and smoking,” Mr de Silva said.

“The difficulty with cyberbullying is often there’s no escape for young people, with the bullies effectively having a key to every area of their life, including the home.

“With so many young people deeply impacted by cyberbullying, it’s never been more important for more action to be taken,” Mr de Silva said.
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