One in five young Australians have been the victim of cyber bullying (Australian Democrats Youth Poll, 2007) and figures from Queensland University of Technology suggest that nearly all teens will experience some form of mobile phone bullying by the time they graduate, with boys more likely to be exposed.
With bullying, particularly cyber bullying, on the rise, headspace – the National Youth Mental Health Foundation – understands how difficult it is for young Australians and that it is hard to find someone to talk to. That’s why headspace is running an online ‘Ask an Expert’ featuring a panel of leading bullying experts to offer advice and hope to young people experiencing bullying.
The online ‘Ask an Expert’ will run on Thursday 21st August between 4.30pm and 6.30pm AEST and will feature leading psychologist Andrew Fuller and 16 year-old cyber bullying advocate Tom Wood.
Chris Tanti, headspace CEO explains ‘Ask an Expert’ is one of headspace’s new website initiatives giving young people, parents and the community an opportunity to ask questions to a panel of professionals and get real-time answers.
“At headspace we realise that you can’t always find the exact answer to all of your questions. ‘Ask an Expert’ is a great forum for the community to receive advice on the issues that are affecting them.”
“Cyber bullying in particular, is a very real issue which is affecting young people in substantial numbers. In today’s technology age, the use of mobile phones and the internet is fast overtaking the school yard as the most used means of bullying.”
“Over the past couple of months bullying has consistently been an issue young people have been writing to us about, with over 25 per cent of stories received through our website mentioning some form of bullying” said Mr Tanti.
Tom Wood who has not only been a victim of bullying himself but also came into the media spotlight by cracking the Government’s porn internet filter, is a specialist in the area of ‘cyber bullying’ and is passionate about giving young people practical advice and strategies to overcome their issues.
“After being harassed and threatened for months on the Internet when I was 14, I have been using my experience to work with psychologists, the media, organisations and Governments around Australia to make sure no other kid has to endure the cyber-bullying that I did,” said Tom.
Tom will be joined by Andrew Fuller, a well respected Clinical Psychologist and Family Therapist in the areas of adolescence mental health, bullying and self esteem. Andrew has worked with many schools and communities in Australia and internationally, specialising in the wellbeing of young people and their families.
“Over the years I have seen hundreds of teenagers who have been struggling with bullying. Bullying can affect a young person’s self esteem, mental health and outlook on life and is a serious issue. Headspace’s Ask an Expert forum will offer young people the chance to ask us advice on how to deal with bullying and to share their stories,” said Mr Fuller.
Headspace’s ‘Ask an Expert forum’ on Thursday 21st August will be open to website visitors who register before the start time of 4.30pm AEST.