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Strengthening school and families’ capacity to reduce the academic social and emotional harms secondary students’ can experience from cyber-bullying

In 2008 the Child Health Promotion Research Centre at Edith Cowan University received funding from the Public Education Endowment Trust (PEET) to conduct research into cyber bullying behaviour in Western Australian schools. This project aims to actively engage schools, students and parents and the wider community to develop evidence-based policy, practice and strategies that are cost effective, feasible and effective to reduce this increasing problem.

The project had six major phases:

  • Phase One involved the consolidation of the steering committee and included participation of key organisations, stakeholders and experts to develop a formal understanding of the key elements required for this collaborative research venture;
  • Phase Two involved conducting a survey in each of the study years of student online behaviour, online risk and protective factors that are associated with academic success;
  • Phase Three included systematic scoping and review of national and international empirical and theoretical evidence to inform the process and content of interventions to build school staff and student capacity to reduce cyber bullying and its associated harms to academic achievement;
  • Phase Four included an integral component of this project, the Cyber Friendly Student Summit, where more than 200 Year 10 students’ voices were heard on what they believe young people, adults, schools, Government and Industry should do to improve cyber safety and reduce cyber bullying. The Summit aimed to encourage students to explore the actions they could take following the Summit to help young people take responsibility for reducing cyber bullying. The day culminated in the ‘Cyber Friendly Communities’ Declaration against Cyber Bullying among Children and Young People’, a united common voice and call to action by students that was developed during the Summit. The Cyber Friendly Student Reference Committee was also formed to ensure that young Western Australians are providing input to recommendations and activities that grow from the Cyber Friendly Student Summit;
  • Phase Five included the systematic adaptation and validation of identified strategies for urban, regional and rural/remote areas of Western Australia. This was conducted in consultation with DET, partner organisations, research collaborators and the advisory committee; and
  • Phase Six involved working with key stakeholders, collaborators and international experts to comprehensively train and pilot in different contexts the intervention components to determine a parsimonious and cost-effective model for delivery by key school staff and parents.

Project duration

July 2008 – July 2010

Funding Body

Public Education Endowment Trust


Professor Donna Cross
Dr Debora Brown
Dr Lydia Hearn

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