Kids stand together against bullying

Kiama tragedy: 'Sick freaks killed my daughter'

Mental health group KidsMatter is urging parents to use the national day against bullying to chat with their children about their online activities.

About 2000 Australian schools have signed up to take part in the fourth National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence on Friday.

The aim of the day is to help children prevent and intervene in cases of bullying before they go too far.

KidsMatter psychologist Dr Lyn O’Grady told AAP regular, ongoing and non-confrontational conversations between parents and children were best, ‘‘getting kids to know it’s OK to talk about it (and) you won’t ban them from using (social media)’’, she said.

According to KidsMatter, about one in five children have reported being victims of cyberbullying.

Cyberbullying can have serious mental health effects and, to many of its child victims, can seem inescapable.

Dr O’Grady says that’s not surprising, considering how many children use the internet.

Cyberbullying can be more pervasive than bullying in the schoolyard and can ‘‘happen where you are’’, she said.Bully Zero chief executive Oscar Yildiz is encouraging kids to shut off and ‘‘detox’’ from social media for 48 hours.

‘‘It’s a serious issue,’’ he told Macquarie Radio on Friday.‘‘By 2020, the challenge with social media will be the biggest issue facing Australians.’’

But Dr O’Grady said shutting off all technology could leave children socially ostracised in the digital era.

The National Day of Action focuses on all types of bullying and violence impacting children.

This year Facebook, in partnership with anti-bullying group Project Rockit, will hold a safety workshop for Sydney high school students.

AAP

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