Charlotte Dawson death: Anti-bullying has to start at home
FACEBOOK and social media trolls are being forced into the spotlight by the death of Charlotte Dawson.
Ms Dawson was an anti-bullying advocate and victim of online bullying, and her death is causing Australians to call for harsher punishments.
But one Sunshine Coast behavioural practitioner said a "Band-Aid approach" was not enough.
Pettina Stanghon, the co-owner of the mental health retreat Noosa Confidential, said schools and families needed to incorporate a greater focus on empathy and self-esteem issues to help prevent future tragedies.
"There should be consequences for trolling, of course,'' Mrs Stanghon said.
"However that solution itself is a Band-Aid approach to what is essentially a cultural issue in Australia.
"I work with families and children as young as eight who have been victims of or are the cause of online bullying.
"It really comes down to teaching empathy and getting behind why people do what they do. They do it to feel more, because they feel less... it's bullying 101.
"Online there are no consequences. At least in the playground you have to see the face of the person you are bullying.
"Online you can just say what you want to say freely and click off never to think about it again."
Mrs Stanghon said it all needed to start with parents at home not just teaching their children right from wrong but being a model of the behaviour they are trying to teach.
"Unfortunately our culture tends to encourage a superficial understanding of self-esteem and worth.
"If empathy was taught and modelled more effectively in schools and by parents then there would be less of a need to pull others down in order to feel validated or powerful, which is what we are seeing in the cases of trolling.
"Nobody is perfect but you have to understand that everything you say and do is absorbed and can distort a young person's perception of reality.
"From teaching them at home children should be engaged in school learning about emotional intelligence, the EQ. It's just as important if not more so than the IQ in children."
For the Beyondblue Support Service phone 1300 224 636 or go to http://www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support.
- Model what you teach
- Monitor online use
- Set boundaries with computers, iPads and gaming consols
- Invest in parental controls
- Control access to the internet
Taken from http://www.noosaconfidential.com.au