The changing face of bullying: What parents need to know
SUNSHINE Coast schools are lining up for programs to help protect kids from the burgeoning threat of cyber bullying.
Headspace Maroochydore community and youth officer Jacinta Hesse said cyber bullying was still a growing and evolving beast, and education on social media features heavily in Headspace's bullying prevention program.
"That's a huge part of young people lives in today's day," Miss Hesse said.
"There's still that backyard, schoolyard biffs and brawls as we would think of bullying back in the day, but it is changing."
Miss Hesse spoke to the Sunshine Coast Daily as an online anti-bullying campaign gained momentum in the wake of Queensland schoolgirl Amy "Dolly" Jane Everett's suicide.
Miss Hesse believed most Sunshine Coast schools were making an effort to prevent bullying, with 15 schools already completing the Headspace anti-bullying program since it was launched last year.
Miss Hesse said the program was launched after studies showed 46.8 per cent of Australian students had experienced bullying.
"Some schools have basically put through every student," she said.
"I do feel like they are taking it very seriously."
Miss Hesse said most young people who seek help from Headspace for bullying also struggled with anxiety or other issues that may have been a result of the trauma.
"It impacts the socialising of the young person, them wanting to go to school, being able to get through a day at school and concentrate," Miss Hesse said.
"Obviously if the bullying is severe enough it can impact on mental health and their desire to get up and go to school and do activities they would normally enjoy."
She said stress or shame could be signs a young person was being bullied.
"They may be isolating themselves, not wanting to talk about things that are happening at school," Miss Hesse said.
"I guess you can see a change in persona.
"Some young people are happy to talk about it, and that's obviously what we're trying to encourage."
She said there was plenty of support a parent could give if their child was being bullied, and urged parents to make sure the child was safe contact Headspace for professional help.
"It really comes down to listening, asking the young person about their situation, reassuring the young person they're not along and there is help out there... reminding them they're not responsible for what's happening, and they don't have to deal with it alone."
Headspace also works with and supports young people who have bullied others, to investigate the underlying issues.
Miss Hesse said bullies may attack others because they had been bullied themselves.
"Bullies can be motivated by jealousy, or lack of knowledge of a situation, it could be out of fear, it might be out of misunderstanding... low self esteem, being a victim of violence at home," Miss Hesse said.
"A lot of it is fear of rejection, they're wanting to look cool in front of others.
"Sometimes it can be as simple as just being bored."
Headspace will continue to offer the program until June.