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ECU team wins again in the fight against cyber bullying

Wednesday, 18 June 2008

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Edith Cowan University's (ECU) Child Health Promotion Research Centre (CHPRC) has won a three year, $375,000 grant from the Telstra Foundation to help reduce harm caused to children through the use of digital social networking technologies such as the mobile phone and internet.

This grant cements the CHPRC's place as the leading cyber bullying research centre in Australia, having received over $1 million in research funding to date.

The grant will allow the ECU team, led by child behaviour expert Professor Donna Cross, to develop professional educational materials to assist teachers and parents to deal with the harmful aspects of using these technologies, including cyber bullying.

Cyber bullying involves the use of electronic and digital media by adolescents and children to inflict harm on others, and can include the use of emails, chat-rooms, mobile phones, website and web-cams.

Professor Cross said with the growth of electronic communication, bullying is taking on a new identity, with broad social, emotional and mental health implications, particularly among teenagers.

"Our research indicates that both male and female adolescents are increasingly using covert forms of bullying and technology, enabling them to reach a wider audience and ultimately inflict more harm on the person being bullied," she said.

The materials the CHPRC plan to develop and research will fill a significant gap, providing parents and teachers with much needed support and advice on how to deal with this growing problem.

ECU Vice-Chancellor, Professor Kerry Cox, said it was pleasing to see the Professor Cross and her team continue to develop their expertise and provide support to the community.

"This grant allows the Child Health Promotion Research Centre to transition the findings from their world-first study into cyber bullying into real, tangible outcomes for the benefit of parents, children and adolescents," he said.

The Child Health Promotion Research Centre develops practical, evidence-based interventions aimed at the promotion of child health, through family, school and community based programs. For more information visit http://chprc.ecu.edu.au.

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Media contact:

Corporate Communications
(08) 6304 2131
0402 016 344
pr@ecu.edu.au
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