Townsville Bulletin - - LIFESTYLE - KELSIE IO­RIO

ANEW cy­ber safety cam­paign has been launched across Townsville Catholic sec­ondary schools this month, cre­ated for stu­dents by stu­dents about how to use so­cial me­dia ap­pro­pri­ately.

# makea­choicey­ouwon­tre­gret was cre­ated by stu­dents from St Mar­garet Mary’s Col­lege, Ryan Catholic Col­lege, St An­thony’s Catholic Col­lege and South­ern Cross Catholic Col­lege and con­sists of four videos look­ing at is­sues such as bul­ly­ing, sex­ting, con­se­quences and sup­port to en­cour­age stu­dents to stay safe in a rapidly chang­ing dig­i­tal age.

Townsville Catholic Ed­u­ca­tion se­nior so­cial worker Jen­nifer Black­shaw pre­sented the videos at school as­sem­blies and said the feed­back from stu­dents had been amaz­ing.

“The stu­dents on the videos of­fered some really prac­ti­cal and help­ful ideas about sup­port­ing their peers,” she said.

“The stu­dents’ re­sponses to these videos has been very ma­ture and demon­strate a will­ing­ness to spread this mes­sage to other stu­dents about the im­por­tance of be­ing safe and ap­pro­pri­ate on so­cial me­dia and to think about the con­se­quences in­volved.”

The stu­dents who con­trib­uted to the # makea­choicey­ouwon­tre­gret cam­paign are role mod­els for older and younger stu­dents by pro­mot­ing the mes­sage in their schools.

South­ern Cross Catholic Col­lege Year 8 stu­dent Dan­ica John­son, 14, said the cam­paign helped young peo­ple act safely and know there was help avail­able.

“It’s im­por­tant be­cause there’s a lot of things that can go wrong on so­cial me­dia,” she said.

“It’s more re­lat­able if a stu­dent does it, from a peer’s per­spec­tive and from some­one your age you’re more able to con­nect with them.”

Ms Black­shaw said hav­ing stu­dents por­tray the mes­sage rather than teach­ers or ex­perts had been ef­fec­tive.

“The cam­paign came from lis­ten­ing to stu­dents and recog­nis­ing that they are a pow­er­ful voice and there is an un­tapped wis­dom in the voices of our young peo­ple,” she said.

“From an adult point of view, it’s about ac­knowl­edg­ing that we don’t ac­tu­ally have all the in­for­ma­tion.

“We can do some things to guide and sup­port good de­ci­sions, but ul­ti­mately they are the ones that have the most de­tailed and the lat­est in­for­ma­tion about what young peo­ple are us­ing.

“We don’t ex­pect them for one sec­ond not to be on so­cial me­dia be­cause it’s the way of the fu­ture, that’s just how it is, we just want them to be safe.”

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