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Cyber bullying cases growing with new technol -

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Cyber bullying cases are increasing with the growing use of social media.

Transcript

CHRIS UHLMANN, PRESENTER: Bullying has always been an unfortunate part of teenage life, but the
pervasiveness of social media has certainly increased the opportunities for it.

It's an enormous challenge for parents and schools as well as companies like Facebook.

Teenagers themselves are taking the initiative to crack down on cyber-bullying, as Conor Duffy
reports.

CONOR DUFFY, REPORTER: The music might sound aggressive and abrasive, but for the young fans
writhing in the moshpit, this all ages gig is about confronting the stories that have become part
of the fabric of teenage life.

TEENAGER: ... three o'clock in the morning once and someone's sending me, like, 300 messages at a
time, just calling me names and stuff. So I know how it feels and it's horrible.

TEENAGER II: I'd rather someone tell me I'm ugly or whatever to my face instead of them saying it
over the internet, 'cause then everyone can see it.

SKARLETT SARAMORE, LESS THAN STRENGTH: I was the girl at school that everyone picked on. Like,
there was many, many times where I didn't want to be alive anymore in school from the bullying I
got. ... You actually take it to heart and you're like, "Oh my God, I'm ugly." And I had troubles
with, like, my looks and image for so long because of simple stuff like cyber-bullying. It was
hard.

CONOR DUFFY: Skarlett Saramore knows the pain of being a target. It inspired her to set up a
charity called Less Than Strength to help young people with depression and those who've been abused
online.

SKARLETT SARAMORE: You've gotta be there for someone as well. Like, if you know someone going
through anything, you have to stand up. It's the right thing to do.

CONOR DUFFY: Social media's always on the move and so are the platforms for cyber-bullying. The
latest trend is locality-based pages for anonymous rumour.

ROBYN TREYVAUD, CYBER SAFE KIDS: The gossip pages, or the "goss' pages", as we know them, that have
sprung up and gone really quite viral in schools around Australia and it's also a global phenomena
as well.

TEENAGER III: There's, like, all the gossip groups, like, yeah, there's, like, Hawkesbury Goss,
Colo Goss - just, like, that's just a few from round here.

CONOR DUFFY: Like the toilet wall of old, online forums are the new place for malicious gossip. The
difference is the abuse can go viral.

Noah, Gus, Molly and Lily go to high school together in north-western Sydney. And for them, dealing
with online abuse is a part of growing up.

TEENAGER III: There's like heaps of ones sort of like, "So and so is a fat whore or something,"
things like that. Yeah, just totally made up though, like, no basis behind most of them. Or, "So
and so slept with this person at a party on the weekend," and most of 'em aren't even true. They're
just ...

TEENAGER IV: Yeah.

TEENAGER V: Pretty much if you don't like someone, you just come up with the most horrible things
you can think of, like, anything from slut to bitch to anything. Picking on their appearance.

CONOR DUFFY: Those insults can leave lasting scars.

TEENAGER VI: Um, yes, some of my friends have had it done to them at school and I have noticed that
it can affect them.

CONOR DUFFY: And you said it made them not even wanna go to school?

TEENAGER VI: It made them - like, put them in a difficult situation, like, not knowing really what
to do 'cause they had no control over what was being put up about them.

TEENAGER IV: Like, people gang up as well. Like - because, like, when one person says something and
everyone starts, like, picking it up and then, like, next thing you know, everyone's liking the
status that's made about a person or people add their little 20 cents or (inaudible). But, yeah, it
gets pretty mean.

TOM TILLEY, TRIPLE J COMPERE: Hello, Tom Tilley with you for Hack. Have you ever felt subconscious
about your sexual performance? Well imagine seeing your performance rated out of 10 on a Facebook
page.

CONOR DUFFY: Youth radio network Triple J plays to an audience all-too-familiar with online
harassment. This show's looking at the so-called "root rater" sites.

TOM TILLEY: Wow, it's everywhere, isn't it? We're hearing about it all over Australia.

CONOR DUFFY: There's no escaping that they're crude and brutal. And as callers revealed, the
targets can be as young as 14.

CALLER: Yeah, it says, "She's a screamer, but so not worth it. The girl was OK. Five outta 10."

TOM TILLEY: How does that make you feel?

CALLER: Pretty disgusted, really, that someone would put that up in the first place.

ROBYN TREYVAUD: It's like the Wild West without the sheriff. And I think it's important to
understand from an adult's perspective that it's our job to help these young people develop a
strong moral compass.

CONOR DUFFY: This Melbourne forum is promoting cyber safety.

ROBYN TREYVAUD: For too long I think we've focused on the technology and the devices. That we
haven't really talked enough with young people about the rules of engagement.

CONOR DUFFY: Educational consultant Robyn Treyvaud urges parents to be involved.

ROBYN TREYVAUD: At the moment, I think we're missing in action. I think part of that is we as
parents and adults in the community are abrogating our responsibilities because we say, "I don't
get how this technology works. I'm not on Facebook. I wouldn't dream of saying or doing those
things, and therefore, I don't get it."

CONOR DUFFY: For the generation that's grown up in an online world, there's no well-worn road map
to follow. But these teenagers have a sense of what might help.

TEENAGER V: I think they need to make kids more aware of the consequences too because like we were
talking about before, kids just do it not realising what they're doing, how they're harming other
people. So, yeah, maybe they could talk about that.

TEENAGER VI: Yeah, I reckon - I agree with Gus. I reckon schools could probably enhance their ways
of doing it. Like, they talk a lot of safe sex and drugs and just all those kind of things and they
haven't probably put all their attention as much as they could into this.

SKARLETT SARAMORE: If it wasn't for drumming, I don't think I would have an outlet, to be honest,
and something worse could have happened. I'm just lucky I was one of those people that knew what to
do.

CONOR DUFFY: And from one who's been a target and risen above it, there's this advice.

SKARLETT SARAMORE: The best thing you can do is just talk to someone about it, even if that's your
best friend or your mum or your dad or your brother or sister. I believe if you talk to someone
about it, the feeling off your chest, you'll get out of that little bubble and back into the real
world and you'll feel better about yourself.

LEIGH SALES: Conor Duffy reporting. And for anyone from ages five to 25 who's experiencing any form
of bullying, online or otherwise, Kids Helpline can be reached on 1800 55 1800. Their website is
www.kidshelp.com.au