Cyberbullying: Big names speak out

Over the week, high-profile Kiwis open up about their experiences.
Over the week, high-profile Kiwis open up about their experiences.

• An alarming rise in cyberbullying threatens the mental health of a generation of young New Zealanders.
• New research points to low self-esteem and depression, and has uncovered increasingly younger victims.
• A special series starting today explores the impacts of social media, shows parents how they can help their children and looks at how laws can be strengthened.

These are some of the high-profile people behind our campaign. They have either been cyberbullied or have taken a stand against it.

Pua Magisiva

The Flava FM Breakfast co-host and Shortland Street actor has been involved with the Sticks and Stones anti-cyberbullying group.

Liam Martin

The Kiwi Instagram star has 1.7 million followers, including singers Jennifer Lopez and Ariana Grande. He has copped abuse for his risque photos in which he poses as celebrities in photo shoots.

Cathrine Tuivaiti (nee Latu)

The Silver Ferns sharp-shooter spoke out about the hammering some of our top athletes get via social media after winger Manu Vatuvei went public about abuse he and his family received when he was caught up in the Warriors' energy drinks and prescription pills scandal.

Max Key

The Prime Minister's son was bullied at school and faced online taunts after posting a video of himself enjoying a Hawaiian holiday, and after he released his first single. John Key has said he worries about the online taunts.

There's a point where it's just too much, and I've had days where it's gotten on top of me.
Max Key - Student, DJ and the Prime Minister's son

Paula Bennett

The Associate Tourism Minister in March named a social media user over an offensive comment he made after she said on Facebook she was on a mission to rid Wicked Campers vans of unpleasant slogans.

What I can't shrug off are death threats, threats against my family, or comments I think can lead to violence.
Paula Bennett - Cabinet Minister

Shaun Johnson

The Warriors star said in April he gets so much online abuse from "keyboard warriors", he questioned whether using social media was worth the hassle.

I'm human and like anyone else . . . you read something not nice and it certainly has an effect on you.
Shuan Johnson - Warriors star

Fleur Verhoeven

The Bachelor winner stood up for the show's star, Jordan Mauger, who ended their relationship after choosing her as the winner. He was verbally abused and threatened. Miss Verhoeven said the treatment made her feel ill.

It's very easy to get caught up in the media circus.
Fleur Verhoeven - The Bachelor winner

Where to get help:

• In an emergency: call 111
• Lifeline: 0800 543 354 (available 24/7)
• Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO) (available 24/7)
• Youthline: 0800 376 633, or text 234 (available 24/7) or or live chat (between 7pm and 11pm)
• Kidsline: 0800 543 754 (available 24/7)
• Whatsup: 0800 942 8787 (1pm to 11pm)
• Depression helpline: 0800 111 757 (available 24/7)
• Rainbow Youth: (09) 376 4155 (weekdays 11am to 5pm)
• NetSafe: 0508 NETSAFE (0508 638 723),

How parents can stop cyberbullying:

• Understand where your kids are going online, what they are doing and who they are talking to.
• Spend time in your child's online world.
• Accept and acknowledge how important technology is to your child.
• Don't ask your child if they're being cyberbullied. Use their language - have they seen mean texts circulating, humiliating photos or messages on others' Facebook walls?
• Don't downplay covert bullying. Don't dismiss it saying "don't worry ... it doesn't matter if you've been left out" or "just ignore the bullying". This tells the child that you don't take their situation seriously and can even convey that it's normal for others to treat them this way.
• Make it clear cyberbullying will not result in phone or internet access being taken away. Discuss this with your child and reassure them that's not how you'll deal with it.
• Teach your kids how to be good cyber citizens before they are in Year 4, when they may begin to venture online.
• Much of cyberbullying and face-to-face bullying is learned behaviour. Look at what behaviours you're modelling to your kids. Is sarcasm and point-scoring part of your family culture?
• Don't contact the other child but tell the school principal.

- NZ Herald

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