Government’s bid to combat cyberbullying

Roumaysya Abdul Ghafur and Waad Abdalla play the game: "It teaches you what to do and the consequences of bullying,” Roumaysya says.
Roumaysya Abdul Ghafur and Waad Abdalla play the game: "It teaches you what to do and the consequences of bullying,” Roumaysya says.

Friday’s launch of a new video game at Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre was flagged as a Government first after it invested $200,000 and two years to develop a new way to promote e-safety.

Liverpool Girls High School and Liverpool Boys High School were invited to play new game, The Lost Summer. The students trialed the game several months before it was released to the public.

Roumaysya Abdul Ghafur and Waad Abdalla made a speech at the opening presentation where they shared their experience.

“I haven’t been bullied but I know someone who has,” Roumaysya said.

“A bully took a picture of someone I knew without asking and they edited it to be a mean before and after meme. She was really upset.

“I think this game could have helped her. It teaches you what to do and the consequences of bullying someone on social media.”

Waad said the game taught her to approach complicated online situations.

“I know the best thing to do is block people who are offensive. I go on Instagram and see lots of rude memes and comments about people.

“I would report the comment now and wouldn’t let it get to me if it’s about me. I know it’s not true and that it’s just a bully trying to put you down.”

E-safety commissioner says: "I have a 12-year-old and two six-year-olds. I made sure the moment they were on the iPad we spoke about their responsibilities."

E-safety commissioner says: "I have a 12-year-old and two six-year-olds. I made sure the moment they were on the iPad we spoke about their responsibilities."

The game targets students 11 to 14, with hopes teachers will adopt it in the classroom.

E-safety commissioner, Julie Inman Grant spoke to the Champion.

“This game is a first and we’re the only Government agency that exists in the world to look after online safety. From the response we got at the launch, it’s clear children want to play this game more and they’re learning as they go.

“The purpose is to build skills, resilience, show respect and responsibility online, learn about empathy and concepts like consent. One in five Australians have been cyber bullied but it’s often an extension of problems in the playground. We need to target behaviour.”

Inman Grant is a mother and has concerns, just like many other parents across the country.

“We know one in four young people have been approached online by a stranger so I do worry about my kids. I have a 12-year-old and two six-year-olds. I made sure the moment they were on the iPad we spoke about what their rights and responsibilities were.

“I encouraged them to come to me if anything confronting happened and explained I wouldn’t punish them but we would work through it together. We need to be more engaged with our childrens online lives.”

  • The video game The Lost Summer is available to download for free from the App store, Google Play or for desktop at esafety.gov.au/tls.

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