The Rotary Club of Barbados is taking steps to shut down cyberbullying in Barbados.
And this week, the club launched its cyberbullying campaign at the Hilton Barbados, with the mission to ensure every adult and child on the island is educated on the social plague and is inspired enough to stop it.
One of the Rotarians behind the drive is Annie Bertrand, who, while speaking at the launch, explained that given the fast penetration of technology, online bullying which can take the form of rumours, mean comments, social exclusion, embarrassing pictures of videos, was infecting the well-being of both children and adults.
She said the consequence of this stress had been mental illness and, too often, death, but that fortunately research had demonstrated the problem could be resolved if both children and adults were made aware and got actively involved.
“All the schools that I have been to and interviewed young people, they themselves told me that it has been happening all the time. It is just that we don’t have a formal way
of recording that statistic.
“But the young people themselves are saying that sharing photos among each other to try to embarrass people is happening all the time,” Bertrand said.
Rotary Barbados mobilized a committee of diverse professionals to design a nationwide anti-cyberbullying strategy that would create awareness and influence behaviours.
As a result of corporate sponsors such as Flow and Scotiabank, the social marketing campaign integrates multiple communication tools and channels such as television, online videos, educational brochures, web, social media, contests and activities with other partners.
The campaign has been divided into four phases. The first phase is about awareness building, targeting adults where there will be the distribution of educational brochures in public places, broadcasting of video advertisements, online messaging using professional networks and Press conferences among other media.
The second phase entails training and educational sessions at workshops by professionals who interact directly with young people –– for example, school counsellors, PARADOS and Supreme Counselling.
These sessions will be facilitated by Dr Shirley Alleyne.
The campaign will be targeting the youth in phase three with a national youth video contest, public speaking events, social media outreach programmes, visits to secondary schools, and a video series with specific messages based on research findings. The campaign would be expanded and reinforced in phase five through rotary clubs across the region, fresh advertisements and maintaining a Facebook page and updated website.