The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) last week launched a national campaign to encourage young people to support their friends targeted by cyberbullying.
Openly gay celebrity DJ Ruby Rose is an ambassador for the campaign and said she was passionate about the cause because of her firsthand experience of bullying.
“I ended up hospitalised and, to be honest, I suffered severe depression,” she said.
“If it wasn’t for the fact that a few pupils actually went to some teachers to alert them to my situation, then I may not be here today.”
Rose and fellow ambassador, Australia’s Got Talent singer Cody Bell, were joined at the June 20 launch by young people who have signed up to the BackMeUp campaign.
AHRC spokeswoman Dr Helen Szoke said the campaign, in which participants are encouraged to post a two-minute video online about how they would back up someone who has been cyberbullied, is about taking action to help bullying victims.
“Bystanders are crucial to dealing with cyberbullying,” Szoke said.
“Taking positive action to support those who are being bullied leads to less social and mental health problems as well as an increased sense of safety at schools.”
The BackMeUp campaign is based on research byexperts on bullying, including Professor Donna Cross and Dr Laura Thomas from Edith Cowan University Child Health Promotion Research Centre.
Ten winners of the online video project will receive an all-expenses paid trip to Sydney to spend a week at NIDA creating a professional short film.