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The True Cost of Cyberbullying for Australian Schools.

Exactly how much money is spent managing this behaviour?

Cyberbullying is not a new trend, and by now we are all aware of the huge personal cost paid by victims when dealing with incidents involving this type of behaviour. While the emotional impact is great, there are also other significant issues at play to consider as well. What about the business case for managing incidents like this in schools?

According to a report produced by PwC Australia and the Alannah & Madeline Foundation, there are approximately 910,000 students in Australia who are victims of bullying each year, totalling an estimated 45 million bullying incidents across all schools. The fiscal cost is estimated at $2.3 billion, incurred while children are in school, and for 20 years after school completion, for each individual school year group. These costs relate to long term impacts on productivity, chronic health issues and impact on family and community.

The statistics are staggering, and when it comes to cyberbullying, we also know incidents are underreported. As school leaders, it is time to engage in high value actions to solve the problem.

01.

Develop effective policies & procedures

Many teachers don’t remember the last time they saw the school ICT policy or code of conduct. The reason? Because they don’t resonate. These documents need to complement each other, and create meaning for school communities to follow them. When it comes to students, it is essential they have a voice in its development and application.

02.

Deliver robust education & support

Schools need to have diverse education opportunities that are specifically developed to leverage students' interest, including current”on trend” topics that bring fresh perspective and engagement.

03.

Create streamlined incident management processes

Having an easily accessible, streamlined process for any staff member to follow is essential when it comes to cyber safety management. Delays increase risk to the victim, (and bystanders), so a well communicated process that focuses on harm minimisation and support is a must.

With a clear, coordinated, and structured approach, schools can act to ensure a far more effective solution where school time and resources are used for purpose, and ultimately the bottom dollar relied upon for continued effectiveness remains where it should be - supporting student learning.

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