CYBER BULLYING: Year 3 Xavier Catholic college students with the computer program held by Olivia Welch.
CYBER BULLYING: Year 3 Xavier Catholic college students with the computer program held by Olivia Welch.

School takes on cyber bullies

XAVIER Catholic College students are the first in Queensland to sign up to a Kids Helpline aimed at making cyber space a better place.

Xavier's head of junior school, Brian Forbes, has applauded his students for taking on the the issue of cyber-safety alongside more than 10,000 students nation-wide.

Xavier Catholic College is one of only seven schools which have so far signed up for the program.

“Cyber bullying is an extremely prevalent issue in today's society,” Mr Forbes said. “I look forward to attacking the problem head-on and educating our students on the proper use of technology.”

The program is aimed at grades three to 12 and includes two lessons for each age group, using media such as video case studies, screen savers and posters to get the message across.

Kids Helpline general manager Wendy Protheroe said growing community concern about the online safety of children and young people had sparked the campaign.

“Australian students live in a digital world and while this world is an amazing source of entertainment, information and connection, they need to learn how to avoid the dangers of its misuse,” she said. The program aims to be a long-term solution to the cyber-bullying epidemic across Australia and on the Fraser Coast.

“We have developed lesson plans to help teachers educate students on how to make better, safer choices online, now and in the future,” Ms Protheroe said.

“Also how to identify the signs of cyber bullying and to speak up if they experience or witness it.”

The school will receive an education pack containing information on cyber bullying, texting and the safe use of technology in and out of school grounds.

According to Kids Helpline research, many children and young people repeatedly fall victim to cyber bullying, with the most common forms including name-calling, abusive comments, harassment, exclusion, impersonation, threats of harm, defamation, spreading rumours and public humiliation.

“Young people who are cyber bullied reported negative effects on their self-confidence, self-esteem, friendships, school grades and attendance, and family relationships,” Ms Protheroe said.