Using mobile phones to counter cyberbullying: An innovative project

Alison J. Wotherspoon, Greg Cox, Phillip T. Slee

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This chapter describes a project called the Anti-Cyberbullying Phone Project that was funded through the 2006 Australian National Safe Schools Week, and supported by The Coalition to Decrease Bullying, Harassment and Violence in South Australian Schools in South Australia. The project brought together young people from 16 South Australian high schools for a series of workshops, where they created a number of positive, animated, anti-bullying messages for distribution via mobile phones. This innovative project taught young people a range of new skills and engaged them in developing resources suitable for use in bullying and cyberbullying prevention and intervention programmes. The workshop was made possible by significant initiatives undertaken by the Australian Commonwealth and State governments over the past decade. To provide a background to this innovative project a brief overview of the national context is useful. In July 2003 the Australian Federal Ministerial Council for Education, Early Childhood and Youth Affairs (MCEECDYA) endorsed the National Safe Schools Framework (NSSF), paving the way for Australian education authorities to develop a consistent national approach to bullying, violence and child protection in all Australian schools to ensure the physical and emotional safety of students. The National Safe Schools Framework is a set of nationally agreed principles for safe and supportive school environments, that recognizes the importance of a whole school approach to bullying, violence and child protection, and the need to develop and implement policies and programs in consultation with the wider school community. The NSSF was delivered to schools in Australia in 2004, and in July 2005 the Government of South Australia announced the creation of The Coalition to Decrease Bullying, Harassment and Violence in South Australian Schools (the Coalition) whose role was to provide advice to the schooling sector in general and the Minister for Education and Children Services. This organization brought together, for the first time, the three schooling sectors in the state: the South Australian Department of Education and Children’s Services (DECS) responsible for the state/government school system, Catholic Education South Australia (CE-SA) and the Association of Independent Schools of South Australia (AISSA), and allowed them to work innovatively and collaboratively together to implement the NSSF and other initiatives. Four South Australian academics, specializing in the field of bullying and violence, were invited to join the Coalition to advise the schooling sector of current research and to identify areas of interest for future research: Professors Phillip Slee (Flinders University) and Ken Rigby (University of South Australia) and Drs Barbara Spears (University of South Australia) and Shoko Yoneyama (University of Adelaide). At a later date a representative from the South Australian Police was also invited to join the Coalition, further extending its reach into the community. Based on this South Australian model and with advice from Professor Rigby, the Queensland Coalition of Schools recently established the Queensland Schools Alliance Against Violence (QSAAV) in February 2010. To mark the beginning of the NSSF, the Commonwealth Government funded National Safe School Weeks in 2006 and 2007 and the first AntiCyberbullying Phone Project was undertaken during 2006. A similar workshop ran in Adelaide during the 2007 National Safe School Week and built on the success of the first workshop. Only the first workshop is discussed in this chapter.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe Impact of Technology on Relationships in Educational Settings
EditorsAngela Costabile, Barbara Spears
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor and Francis
Chapter16
Pages178-187
Number of pages10
ISBN (Electronic)9780203133330
ISBN (Print)9780415610070, 9780415610087
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013

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