Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

Victoria faces bullying crisis

Girl devastated as she is bullied by a group of girls
Image: iStock

Trigger Warning: bullying

According to Herald Sun, students in the Australian state of Victoria are facing a bullying crisis.

Bullies told a girl to “f-ing kill yourself” in a viral video. The victim attended Greater Shepparton Senior College.

This isn’t the first incident. Bullying has been a huge issue across the Greater Shepparton area. One parent said:

I freeze every time I get a call from the school because I’m worried something has happened again.

As a result, parents are calling for more schooling options. The local government conducted a survey where 94% of parents said they needed more options in the area.

Cyber – bullying skyrockets during pandemic

Teen gets bullied via text
Image: iStock
Cyber – bullying has exploded across Victoria during lockdowns. Children as young as 12 have been victims. Victorian police have warned that bullying has “…serious consequences in the real world”.

Social media companies have failed to stamp out bullying

This infuriates me. Parents have alerted social media platforms like Instagram and SnapChat about bullying content. Unfortunately, social media companies haven’t acted appropriately. Social media companies haven’t taken harmful content down.

Social media companies need to be held accountable. Governments need to introduce laws holding social media companies responsible for what’s posted. If users flag bullying or illegal content, they should be forced to act. If companies fail, they should be heavily fined at minimum.

 

Bullying becomes discriminatory

Children are facing racism, sexism and homophobia. That really hits me hard.

It’s disheartening. It should be a thing of the past. I really hope that victims of such abuse can find at least one adult that they can trust.

Fighting bullying seems to be a never ending battle. That we are losing.

We need more mental health professionals

Late last year, I wrote about the mental health crisis facing Australian youth. Anxiety, depression, ADD/ ADHD and conduct disorder diagnoses are on the rise.

Just looking through Google, it’s clear to me that Australian schools need more psychologists and/ or social workers.

The Liberal National/ Coalition introduced a program to employ chaplains. Apparently it’s cheaper than employing psychologists or social workers.

The National School Chaplaincy Program is still around, despite controversy  My concern is chaplains’ potential lack of training and education of chaplains, compared to social workers and psychologists. Will chaplains be able to deal with complex mental health issues that children are facing?

While chaplains can attain a Bachelor degree in Social Work or Counselling, they often obtain  Certificate IV in Chaplaincy and Pastoral Care.

In contrast, an Australian social worker needs a Bachelor in Social Work at minimum. The Australian Society of Social Workers then assess aspiring social workers. Some social workers also gain a Master’s degree.

To be a clinical psychologist, the process is even more intense. According to the Australian Psychological Society, students have to complete a Bachelor degree in Psychological Science, plus an extra year for clinical study or an internship.

I’m not trying to disrespect chaplains. They can play a role in helping young people. However, psychologists and social workers can deal with complex social and mental health issues.

It’s time to take bullying seriously. Enough is enough.

If this post has raised any issues for you, feel free to contact:

Lifeline: 13 11 14 or http://www.lifeline.org.au

Kids Helpline: 1800 55 1800 or kidshelpline.com.au

Beyond Blue: 1300 22 4636

Categories
News Opinion/Commentary

Madeline should not have been let off for opposing same – sex marriage

https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=kbf7kY4lD5w

18 – year – old, only known as Madeline, was let go from her contract at Capital Kids Parties, Canberra, after putting ‘It’s OK to Vote No’ filter on her Facebook profile.

Her contractor, Madlin Sims made a Facebook post saying that she let go of Madeline because she thought her views were “hate speech”.

There are feelings that there is more to this story, but I’ll go with purely the issue of unfair dismissal and anti – discrimination.

I don’t think people like Madeline should be let off purely because of their political or religious beliefs. And, as long as they are not advocating for the killing of LGBTQ+ people or they are openly hostile towards people because of sexuality, gender, race, etc, they shouldn’t be sacked/ lose their contract.

However, I’ve got a funny feeling that some people who defend Madeline also want businesses to be legally be able to discriminate against people based on their relationships, gender or sexuality. It should be all or nothing. Sims should be able to discrminate against conservative Christians, or it should be unlawful for a business or servicecto refuse to employ or serve LGBTQ+ people. All of one or the other.

 

There is something that I think has been left out of this discussion. Madeline is only eighteen. She’s probably just finished Year 12. She still needs time to grow and I do feel for her. She’s had her work and her beliefs scrutinised in the most public way. Her character has already been debated,bsparked by Sims’ Facebook post. Regardless of who you agree with in this, Madeline is still so young. She has her whole life ahead of her and she’s been subject to public scrutiny already. All over a Facebook filter. That to me, is extreme.

 

I feel for Madlin Sims, too. By the look at her Instagram picture, which supince has been taken down, apparentky,bshe’s also incredibly young. And the abuse she and her brother have allegedly suffered must be condemned. Why this hasn’t been talked about and condemned by mainstream and independent media, I don’t know. (You already know how I feel about the whole ‘debate’ and ommissions,bso Ivwon’t repeat them here).

 

Unfortunateky, I think this case has put a bad light on the ‘Yes’ side, again. It’s also exposed my worst feears about same – sex marriage; a values clash between the Left and conservatives that I believe needs to be sorted before (if) same – sex marriage becomes legal in Australia.

 

What are your thoughts on anti – discrimination laws? Should there be any exemptions on moral grounds?

 

 

 

 

Categories
Life

When the ‘Roaring 20’s’ isn’t what you think it was meant to be

The twenties.

Full of love, happiness and success.

Except when it’s not.

I’m twenty – eight now. While my twenties haven ‘t been bad, really. It’s been far from predictable, successful and full of constant happiness. My mid twenties – around twenty – five was particularly hard until i went on the Rotary Lions’ Club’s ‘Rotary Youth Leadership Award’. The week there, gave me a new lease on life and a sense of optimism that I hadn’t experienced in a while. Sometimes, your twenties can be quite lonely. It’s often a time when friends that have grown up together go their separate ways. If your lucky, you may have one or two that you keep in contact with (I’m one of the lucky ones, actually).

In terms of career success, in your twenties, you face a brutal truth; that you will most likely be rejected at least once. Your career may not have taken off. For some, being in your twenties means having to move back with your parents. According to the September 2017 issue of Cosmopolitan (Australia), one in ten Australians take anti depressants. (“The Great Millennial Meltdown, Jennifer Savin, pp. 103 – 107. Cosmopolitan Australia, September 2017).

According to the Jennifer Savin article. there is a bit of an industry, at least in Europe. In a hotel in Benehavis, Spain, women in their 20’s and early 30’s flocked to a retreat run by Stephanie Kazolides in a mental health/ yoga/ meditation program called ‘Quarter Life Health Project. The retreat cost A$500 per person.

The twenties seemed to be big contrast for many people than what they think or are told it should be. It’s definitely a contrast from some of the images I found iStock for this post.

Group of happy and young people
Image: iStock
Young man gains good news over phone ecstatic
Image: iStock

For many people, obviously, the twenties may not live up to these expectations for most people – at least not all the time. It’s a time where you’re still trying to make sense of things, fighting for independence and trying to get on your feet career wise. What shocked me in the Savin article was the percentage of people who enter employment after graduating university – just over 41% which I think is despicable actually, but that may be for another post somewhere along the line.

The twenties comes with growth, expectations and transitions in relationships. Unfortunately, for too many when relational transitions take place, people in their twenties often experience loneliness, which can be really hard. Most people have a vision of what the twenties should be like — by being told by others or themselves. Moving out, working, having adventures, getting married, buying a house, etc.

Yet, following that path isn’t so straightforward, especially for Gen Ys who live in the major cities. Work isn’t as easy to come by, including when you have a degree. I know from experience even getting relevant work placement when doing a TAFE course can be hard (that’s one of the things that got me in a rut).

 

While I don’t think Gen Y has had it the worst — every generation faces it’s challenges — looking back I think Gen Y could have had things a bit differently. I think for too long, university was seen as the ticket to employment, even though TAFE was getting less stigmatised, university for most was the ultimate goal. I think people who were taught about careers, applying for courses and jobs, etc, I think it would have helped to have a bit more of a talk about rejection and possible long or medium – term unemployment wouldn’t have gone astray. Not to mention stigma still faced by people with a disability. Then again, I guess no – one predicted the GFC in 2008, which threw a lot of young people off.

 

For people who haven’t entered or have only started their twenties, I have one piece of advice – take it in your stride. It’s not going to be all smooth sailing. Be flexible (probably for a while my big downfall). And, most importantly, reach out and get help if you think you need it.

For health resources or support, you can contact and get information from Beyond Blue.

Click on these articles if you think you need better ways to deal with stress (or just some encouragement).

Her Campus: How to deal with stress in your 20’s

Psychology Today: If you’re lost in your 20’s

GoodTherapy.org Mental health issues to be aware of in your 20’s

Have you got any tips you’d like to share with 20 – something readers? Feel free to add your thoughts in the comments below.