Mr JONATHAN O'DEA
(Davidson) [1.12 p.m.]: A few weeks ago I attended the launch at Fox Studios of a short film titled Best Enemies
. The film was inspired by true events. It follows the story of Rebecca and her struggle to navigate through a rollercoaster of betrayal, cyber bullying and depression. It was written and directed by Ross Bark and produced by Darren Bark, who is a constituent in my electorate of Davidson. The film helps to combat cyber bullying through increasing awareness of the issues. It is an education and information tool that respects young people. It is a proactive film aimed at preventing negative behaviour by showing the consequences of certain actions. While modern technology enhances life in many ways, the anonymous elements of links established using technology, such as mobile phones and computers, leave people vulnerable to being exploited and bullied. Young people can exist largely in a different world to that of their parents, who may have little knowledge of Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and other online social or gaming sites. As director Ross Bark said:
The ability to mass communicate messages to friends and school colleagues through social networking sites, together with text messaging, has made psychological bullying more potent than ever. Best Enemies portrays the reality that teenage girls face in a world very different from that of their parents and how scarring and destructive bullying, especially cyber-bullying, is to its victims. Teenagers, young adults, parents and teachers will strongly identify with this story and we believe the film will be a valuable tool within educational programs to help confront and educate on cyber-bullying, depression and the teenage girl "world".
The successful film launch also raised funds for Point Zero Youth Services. Point Zero provides specialised support, assistance and education for young people, their parents and the community to reduce or prevent drug and alcohol abuse and dangerous or antisocial behaviour. Point Zero runs innovative programs designed to inspire young people, meeting their needs and promoting their potential as they move into young adulthood. Girlfriend
magazine, which was one of the film launch sponsors, offers the following advice to young people faced with cyber-bullying: Do not respond; block and delete the bully online; save evidence for future reference; report abuse to the system administrator or provider; and tell relevant people in the real world who can assist.
I join with the Federation of Parents and Citizens Associations of New South Wales in applauding the New South Wales Government's decision to hold a forum on cyber bullying in November with key stakeholders, including academics, teachers and parents. There is a challenge for our laws to keep up with advances in technology. The law and education tools, like the Best Enemies
film, no doubt will be discussed at the forum. Numerous studies and publications have been done on school bullying and cyber bullying. Various members of Parliament have circulated educational material on bullying in schools. I am also aware that the Department of Education and Training incorporates useful information and material in the school curriculum and it is considering including this excellent film on cyber bullying as one of its resources. A showing of the Best Enemies
film will take place at 6.30 tonight in the Parliamentary Theatrette, with members of the Killara Young Liberals branch in attendance, including policy vice-president Darren Bark. All are welcome. I again congratulate Ross and Darren Bark on their excellent creation.