Free cyber safety workshops are being offered to Katherine parents and students next week.
Ahead of the workshop the Katherine Times spoke to bullying expert Sandra Craig about the importance of addressing the issue and knowing what bullying actually is – online and in the real world.
After the tragic death of Amy “Dolly” Everett in January this year following sustained bullying, her parents Kate and Tick Everett set up anti-bullying campaign “Dolly's Dream”.
To raise awareness about the seriousness of bullying and its devastating effects Kate and Tick have partnered with national children’s charity, the Alannah and Madeline Foundation to deliver Parenting in the Digital World.
“We are very proud that Dolly’s Dream can bring the first Connect Workshops to Katherine,” Kate Everett said.
Boys will be boys, that is a mythSandra Craig
“We have had amazing support from the local community that has helped us get through a difficult year. We are really pleased that Katherine schools, teachers and parents will benefit from these workshops that will address the many issues associated with bullying,” she said.
According to the manager of the National Centre Against Bullying, Sandra Craig, “bullying is a form of persecution.”
“A lot of parents and kids get confused about being targeted once, but single conflicts are not bullying behaviours.
“It becomes bullying when the power imbalance is there and when the behaviour is ongoing.
“It might not be violent acts, it could be stares and looks.
“Verbal bullying is most prevalent and a lot of these instances are happening online,” Ms Craig said.
Having worked in the area for 11 years, Ms Craig said it was important for parents and teachers to have open conversations about bullying.
“If we expose some of the myths, we can begin to work through them.
“It is everyone’s problem and the best thing parents can do is model good behavior,” she said.
There are certain things to look out for to protect your child, Ms Craig said.
“Parents are often not told and they need to be aware of the signs,” she said.
“Keep a look out for changes in your child’s behaviour. There could be changes in mood, eating habits or sleep patterns.
“They might feel ‘ill’ in the morning and not want to go to school. And of course keep a look out for physical signs – if they come home hurt or hungry.
“Talk to your kid and find out exactly what is going on. When you do that it is important to listen with out judgement.
“Bullying arises from social situations and the school needs to know, so the next step is making an appointment and not racing down with guns blazing.
“Check on the school’s policies, they will have some form of anti-bullying code and check in later to make sure the school is taking action,” she said.
On the other hand, if your child is the bully, Ms Craig said parents should look at the underlying issue.
“Bullying has a pay off whether it is attention, status or power. Parents need to speak to their kids about the long-term harms of bullying and also find out what the underlying issue is,” she said.
Next week, 11 student workshops will be delivered to schools in Katherine as well as two teacher workshops.
At the Parenting in the Digital World workshop, Kate and Tick Everett will welcome parents to the session and local country music star Tom Curtain will perform his hit song “Speak Up”.
“[I am pleased] Kate and I will be able to introduce the Parent session which will be facilitated by an experienced member of our partners at the children’s charity Alannah and Madeline Foundation,” Tick Everett said.
“The session is designed to support parents to play an active role in their child’s digital world. It includes detailed information on risks and opportunities afforded by technology for young people, with practical tips on how to stay safe.
“The workshop will discuss the latest research and evidence about online behaviours of our kids and also emphasise the importance of open communication and keeping connected with young people, so they are safe, off and online,” he said.
The free Parent workshop on Parenting in the Digital World is happening on Tuesday November 20 at Knotts Crossing Conference room from 7.30pm.
To book head to https://tinyurl.com/y7oauenf
While you're with us, you can now receive updates straight to your inbox each Friday at 6am from the Katherine Times. To make sure you're up to date with all the news, sign up here.