Pickling the Cyber-bully Viruses

CJ Westerberg, December 12, 2010 10:27 AM


Australia's "Cure the Bullies" Campaign

by C.J. Westerberg

Since today is Anti-Bullying Day in some areas of the world, we thought the "Cure the Bullies" initiative from Australia is a cleverly executed stand-out.  The campaign was developed by School Aid - Kids Helping Kids - and the Vodafone Foundation with a special emphasis on cyberbullying and "bystander" behaviors.   With well-designed colorful virus characters that get "pickled" in jars on a shelf,  one can see how the metaphor would engage students.  I have issues with the school listing segment on a number of levels but that couldn't that be eliminated? 

Check it out - let us know what you think -

Here are some of the character "viruses" and background taken from the site:

Commentitus  - Symptoms:  Adding to a mean email or post that someone else has made.

Forwarditus - Symptoms:  Forwarding emails, pictures or messages that can make someone else feel bad.

Gang-Green - Symptoms:  Ganging up on someone on social networking sites, blogs or forums.

OnLookerosis - Syptoms:  Doing nothing at all when someone is being bullied by emails, blogs or social networking sites.

Background on how they developed the campaign from their site:

This is truly a campaign BY kids FOR kids, addressing the audience not from an adult authoritative perspective, but a peer-to-peer behaviour awareness perspective.
SchoolAid and the Vodafone Foundation have worked closely with various groups of primary school-aged students through focus and advisory groups in the development of the campaign. We asked about the kinds of technology they used, any cyberbullying they had encountered, and the ways they had thought of to counter it. We met with the groups at different stages of the campaign to attain feedback about the Bullies Virus characters, the quiz and the Pickling Gallery.

Background on SchoolAid, from their site: 

SchoolAid is a national schools-based philanthropy network empowering kids to help kids in crisis.  Our purpose is to promote a world where Australian children live the values of care and compassion and so develop a lifelong sense of moral and social responsibility.

Since SchoolAid was founded in 1999, over $2.5million has been raised by 200,000 school students across Australia and distributed to child-focused programs from Victoria to Banda Aceh, from Katherine to Cambodia.

SchoolAid empowers Australian primary school children to make a tangible difference to the lives of other kids - kids helping kids - by transforming children's innate compassion into action and developing an understanding of philanthropy, not just fundraising.

We do this by engaging school teachers and students in compelling philanthropic activity and combining the results to support high-impact community programs which improve the lives and educational outcomes for kids.

Related posts from The Daily Riff:

Dealing with Parents of a Cyberbully

How To Turn Your Kid Into a Bully

Bullying and the Brain:  Tips for Parents

Thugs in the Locker Room:  Listen to the "Culture Of Silence"

Parents:  Be a Pit Bull about Bullying

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