Media cashing in at kids’ expense

Media focus on the ‘boy hits back’ bullying incident by newspapers across Australia, on A Current Affair and on Today Tonight is nothing short of reprehensible. Capitalising on this incident comes at the expense of the long term wellbeing of both boys and their families. These stories are naive, misguided and not in the least bit considerate of wider implications.

I congratulate YouTube who behaved responsibly and removed the video from its site as soon as they became aware of it.  What a pity that mainstream media has not followed their responsible lead.

Repeatedly identifying both boys and their parents is disgusting, unhelpful and completely irresponsible.  It’s time to stop focusing on this story and let both boys, their families and the school address the issue and move on.

Improving the mental health and wellbeing of young people is everyone’s responsibility.  I believe the public interest would be better served through responsible discussion by media about how the entire community and schools can effectively tackle bullying.

So are you part of the problem or are you part of the solution media?  I fail to see how repeatedly focusing on this incident is upholding the public interest.

Visit a headspace centre or check out our online resources or call Kids Help Line 1800 55 1800 if you are going through a tough time and want someone else to talk to.

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6 Responses to Media cashing in at kids’ expense

  1. Margaret says:

    It certainly is turning into a 3 ring circus, mind you it was children themselves I believe it was the sister who instigated most of the proliferation of the original materials.

    as nasty as some stories are, they need to be told schools have struggled to deal with bullying for a very long time, are they sure they have it right and are in fact handling such issues correctly, is there a correct way with which to handle it,

    should not headspace considering writing a recommendation based on the experiences of its members and professionals for schools with which to use towards addressing bullying.

    the media always has been and always will be a double edged sword if such subjects are taboo however how are we to learn from them and grow from them, discussing them…..

    if you want your children to be able to speak to you, you need to be willing to talk to them without becoming hysterical over the issues they may want to discuss. over reaction is as harmful as no reaction…..a balance must be found for everything in life too much as bad as too little…..there is always a fine line to walk….we cannot outright deny the media’s rights and responsibilities in circulating the story. once the names are out there they are out there and they were spread by the children involved. life comes with harsh lessons some of which need to be learned the hard way.

    how then would you suggest that the school deal with it? did they suggest or provide counselling and support to either child? did they suggest mediation? did they suggest therapies which may help? or did they simply send them home…..

    Speaking from experience having daughters who are regularly bullied it is very difficult for a parent to address bullying in schools as they cannot walk into the school and clip a kid behind the ear, it takes cooperation and communication between parents, students and the school faculty for any real difference to be made. and even then sometimes that is not enough…..what services are available to schools beyond a principal and parents sitting around talking saying what are we to do???

    rather than slapping them for naming children who had already taken the issue public through social media themselves in a rather determined fashion reposting everything each time it was removed…..we should instead be saying ok these kids want to be heard we should listen, this is a problem and we should be using this as an opportunity to look at real solutions.

  2. Margaret says:

    and if you are suggesting that attempting to speak out about serious issues is bullying……PC has gone WAY too far!

    australia may not expressly protect free speech but it is certainly protected under documents signed with the UN.

    I have checked out the pages run by the sister and she has done well to keep nastiness to a minimum on them and reported or removed anything which was unsuitable.

    should we not speak out about our governments actions we disagree with simply because it could be construed as bullying because we refuse to simply sit back and take it????

  3. Bron says:

    These kids that hurt each other to bully or retaliate all need counselling. Some people are saying that it was ok for the child to retaliate by throwing the other child but it is still assualt and against the law. Self defence is one thing assualt is another.

  4. Margaret says:

    Bron I agree with you on that point, BUT most children and teen’s are not trained in legally defensible restraint techniques. Most adults aren’t I am only because I was a fully trained custodial officer and I needed to know how to legally restrained someone without harming them. and I wouldn’t suggest teaching them to school children either as done incorrectly you can break ribs, arms, dislocate shoulders etc. even Karate starts with strikes and then goes on to teach defensive moves.

    to a large extent you have to wonder is half this problem in adequate staff numbers, as school and class sizes increased in the US so too did violence and incidence of weapons in schools and we are seeing the same happen here.

  5. Jill says:

    I can empathise with the the sister and her feelings about her brother. It is quite human to react this way – it’s also one of the reasons that our legal system chooses a jury of peers.

    What I found most difficult was that there was no comment from the Education DG about what might have been the best way to proceed for families who are affected by long term bullying. I have two children and neither have been the target of sustained bullying. There is a strong belief though that schools are not interested in bullying and that has not been my experience. The primary school that my kids attended ran a special programme for children, teachers and parents. About 5 parents showed up – and I was disappointed in that level of engagement.

    I don’t feel that we can have it both ways – not engage in participating in attempts of a school and still complain about ineffectiveness of schools – some complain without even bothering to write a letter and requiring a letter.

    I don’t agree with political correctness going too far but I reckon that there is a reasonable problem with apathy and also with adults being caught in a pinch by the increase in working hours and not being able to access time to spend with their kids.

    I am not disappointed by the media – I don’t regard them as being more than self interested in making money and they will programme and advertise to meet their interests.

    A comment was made by Phil Gould prior to the airing of the special on one station during the football match. He was responding to one of those spoken reminders by his co compere. From what I remember he added a rejoiner that was along the lines of “Bullying – now that is one of my pet hates. I hate bullying in all walks of life. ” A few words but a very clear message from him and for some people I imagine that he has influence. I don’t follow football and had to ask who he was. I would like to hear more of the same from people from in ordinary situations. The trouble is that bullying is rife in all parts of life – in the workplace it costs people’s health and lives but it is enormously difficult to gain a change in behaviour or when too much damage is done to prosecute. Maybe the only answer is to change the laws and make it easier to prosecute schools and employers and others who bully – there seems to be a change in behaviour when money is involved. Shame that we just can’t be a decent human race to others though.

  6. Margaret says:

    the only time any real work was done in relation to the bullying of my children was when they were chased home by 3 boys on bikes with them trying to separate my 2 young daughters and run each of them other away from their larger sister who would have just pulled the bullies off the bikes.

    Best thing the school did was say, hang up and call the police this we can let them handle, and then call us straight back and we will pick up where the police let off.

    the boys were too young by a matter of months to charge, but the police went to each of those boys homes and spoke to each of those boys in front of their parents, and then the boys were held back each evening after school so that my children could walk home safely, before the boys were allowed to leave the yard. now one of the boys is a friend of my daughters and another sent them a letter of apology and an offer of friendship after realising how much he had scared them.

    after 4 different schools had dropped the ball over the course of 5 years. thankfully where we chose to settle and purchase a house is the only school which didn’t drop the ball when the time arrived.

    poor attendence is as much due to the current economy and parents having to work longer hours to keep food on the table, and school fee’s paid. I have spoken to the parents of my generation and every single one of them has stated that they would NOT want to be raising children today, not with the costs v’s income, not with the numerous levels of legislation parents are entangled in as it slowly becomes a nanny state, and not with the lack of genuine support provided to families, while with one hand the government demands standards with the other it ties everyone’s hands from achieving them. the school is near powerless to do anything any more with the restrictions placed on it for the sake of everyone’s rights, where are the responsibilities???

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