Alarmed by the number of teens self-harming, Rathmines resident Keith Olbery has produced a short film to address the scourge of online cyberbullying.
Olbery, a father-of-two, is a librarian and teacher at a Lake Macquarie school.
We r Gonna Get You is a short film written, produced and directed by Olbery with the help of his wife, Meldi Arkinstall.
Olbery says he felt compelled to write something designed to educate and empower students about the issue after a recent case in which several students at Toronto High School where suspended for cyberbullying a fellow classmate.
The 20-minute film features a high school student called Tammy who becomes increasingly depressed after receiving hurtful messages online.
After her friends start avoiding her, she threatens self harm.
The storyline, Olbery says, is based on a real life incident from the US.
“Since cyberbullying appeared as a behaviour, there’s been an exponential increase in the number of people being victimised,” he said.
“This has become a lot worse since the coronavirus pandemic.
“Cyberbullying can lead to face-to-face bullying and visa-versa. In fact, cyberbullying can have more drastic and lasting effects on a person’s mental health than face-to-face bullying.
“This is because it can be harder to avoid, last longer, involve more exposure and greater degradation.”
Official statistics from the e-safety Commissioner up to the end of August this year show that 1 in 5 Australian children have been bullied online.
The commissioner said the average age is 14 and girls are bullied online more than boys.
These figures are backed up by the government website, Bullying No Way, which cites the following statistics:
· 83% of students who bully others online also bully others in person.
· 72% of schools reported dealing with at least one incident of online bullying in the past year.
· Hurtful teasing was the most common bullying behaviour, followed by nasty lies.
“My aim in writing the script and in making the film was to raise awareness of cyberbullying and stimulate discussion and workshops in the community so students and the general public can learn how to deal with it and stop it,” Olbery told Newcastle Weekly.
“This is especially important now because students have been spending more and more time in front of their screens due to the coronavirus pandemic.”
Olbery received a grant from Lake Macquarie City Council and LivingWorks Australia to produce the short film over four days in January 2021.
It was filmed at Belmont Christian College.
- We r Gonna Get You will premiere at Lake Cinema, 62 Main Rd, Boolaroo on Thursday 24 February from 5.30pm.
- A gold coin donation would be greatly appreciated.
For more stories like this:
- Short film to address cyberbullying concerns
- Parents fear impact of digital devices
- Tackling the torment of bullying, from the buddy bench
Get all the latest Newcastle news, sport, entertainment, lifestyle, competitions and more delivered straight to your inbox FOR FREE with the Newcastle Weekly Daily Newsletter. Sign up here.