Good Digital Parenting
Blog | Nov. 6, 2013

Doing Good Online with PROJECT ROCKIT

Co-founders, PROJECT ROCKIT

At PROJECT ROCKIT when it comes to (cyber)bullying, we ask, “Are you part of the problem, or part of the solution?” It’s a hard question to answer. Believe me, we get it! It’s a question that we ask thousands of young people all over Australia every day. It’s even a question that we’ve asked ourselves hundreds of times before.

When we see abuse happen online, are we going to ignore it, click ‘Like’ or ‘forward’ it? Or are we going to have the courage to show that we disagree? Are we going to report it, reach out to targets, or show in however small a way that we will not tolerate (cyber)bullying? We hear excuses from those who choose to avoid this question altogether. People often tell themselves, “I’m not going to be part of the problem or part of the solution. I’m going to stay out of it and mind my own business." But this is a cop-out – (cyber)bullying is everyone’s business. We believe that there is no sitting on the fence, and that doing nothing is actually part of the problem.

So how do you empower young people to actually stand up and be part of the solution? At PROJECT ROCKIT we have three steps.

Step 1: Collaborative Risk Assessment

There is a common misconception that if you point out the risks to standing up then young people will be too intimidated to do so. On the contrary, in our experience, naming the risks actually seems to take the fear out of them. From here, we’re able to work with students to come up with realistic and safe strategies that accommodate varying levels of confidence.

Step 2: Empathy

If you teach the know-how without building empathy, young people will not be motivated to implement any strategy. We find real-life stories, role-play and movies are a valuable way to safely explore (cyber)bullying, and build empathy and connectivity between students.

Step 3: Digital Citizenship

Technological strategies such as reporting abuse are helpful, but aren’t enough to combat (cyber)bullying on their own. In the offline world, bullying and leadership are two different sides of the same coin. It’s fruitless to talk about bullying without addressing leadership. When it comes to (cyber)bullying, the flipside of the coin is digital citizenship; the idea that the person we are proud of offline should be the exact same person we are online. By examining personal values, vision and strengths, students understand the value of standing up for what they believe in.

We love our job! After 6 years and 70,000 young people, we’re proud that our interactive school workshops have earned the reputation as the student favorite. But we knew we could do more. We wanted to provide young Aussies in even the most remote locations with credible, cool and youth-friendly anti-bullying and leadership education. So, in 2012 we created P-ROCK Online, the Australian-first online anti-bullying curriculum designed by young people for young people. The four-part eLearning program allows students to log on, turn the music up, and become completely immersed in a multimedia-rich world of learning and possibility. P-ROCK Online also provides teachers with valuable insights on attitudinal change, learning, and student culture.

Before completing the program, only 20% of students reported that they would stand up for someone being bullied or seek help. However, after completing the program the rate of proactive bystanders increased to 79%.

We are proud to have created a youth-led movement against (cyber)bullying. It’s fast moving and powered by positive change. To join us and be part of the solution, or to find out more, connect and share with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Instagram.

We’re thrilled to be presenting at the 2013 FOSI Conference and are humbled to be receiving the award for Outstanding Achievement in Cybersafety. We look forward to learning from and connecting with presenters and delegates and express sincere gratitude to the team at FOSI for creating this opportunity.