Telstra Foundation and PROJECT ROCKIT announced the partnership following new research which showed that parents are far more concerned about cyber bullying and online safety than experimenting with drugs and alcohol.
Telstra’s ‘Schoolyard to Screen’ study found that two in five (40%) Australian parents ranked cyber bullying and bullying among their biggest worries as children head back to school – with one in five (20%) saying they are concerned their kids will be unsafe using the Internet.
This compares to just 9% of parents who said they worried their child would consume alcohol or try smoking, and 15% of parents who were concerned their child would take drugs.
Telstra Foundation head Jackie Coates says the research found that more than one in three (36%) Australian teenagers have personally experienced cyber bullying, with one in five (20%) stating the bullying occurred within the last month.
Coates said Telstra was proud to partner with “ground-breaking anti-bullying crusaders PROJECT ROCKIT to help take their powerful and innovative approach online”.
Designed by young people for young people, PROJECT ROCKIT Online is an immersive digital experience that engages secondary school students in years 7 to 9 in learning and understanding on the issues of bullying, cyber safety and leadership.
“As a mother of two, with my son starting secondary school this year, I know how significant the issues of cyber safety and cyber bullying are for Australian parents and teenagers,” Coates said.
“Our research found that parents want more help dealing with these issues, with two in three (68%) saying more help is needed to educate and empower young people about cyber bullying.
“Telstra has long been a big fan of the impact PROJECT ROCKIT is having with their in-school workshops on cyberbullying. That’s why we provided a $400,000 social innovation grant to amplify their 10-years of experience and help take PROJECT ROCKIT online.”
PROJECT ROCKIT was launched in 2006 by Melbourne sisters Lucy and Rosie Thomas, who saw how much bullying at school was robbing from their peers and decided to do something about it.
Co-founder and Co-chief executive Rosie Thomas, said her “young, dynamic team had delivered face-to-face workshops to over 200,000 students in more than 500 schools across the country”.
“We’ve poured all of our passion and experience into PROJECT ROCKIT Online. We were driven to take our successful youth-led approach and program to a digital platform after seeing the difference we were making at each school we visited,” Rosie Thomas said.
“Through PROJECT ROCKIT Online, we can now reach young people and schools all over Australia. This is especially important in regional and remote areas where we see higher rates of mental health issues, as well as bullying.
“There’s no preaching, lecturing or judging – PROJECT ROCKIT celebrates technology, creates real talk about the tough issues and works with young people to come up with safe and cool strategies. This new programme is about empowering everyone to act.”