Up to 20 per cent or about 463,000 Australian children and teenagers are the victims of cyber-bullying alone, says Professor Phillip Slee from Flinders’ Student Wellbeing and Prevention of Violence (SWAPv) Research Centre.
The SWAPv conference will be opened by the President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, whose wellbeing foundation has adopted the Flinders University SWAPv program in Maltese schools.
She will join other leading Australian and international researchers to discuss student wellbeing, violence and aggression, bullying, cyber-bullying and sexting.
Flinders University’s SWAPv Research Centre, led by Professor Slee and Dr Grace Skrzypiec, will host the inaugural conference, which aims to improve child and adolescent well-being, promote positive mental health, and find solutions to prevent violence in school and early childhood settings throughout the world.
One of Flinders’ key anti-bullying initiatives, the SWAPv program is also being used in Japan, Italy and East Timor and will be adapted by schools in India and China. The program has consistently been shown to significantly reduce instances of severe bullying among schoolchildren everywhere it is used.
Professor Slee, who co-authored a recent paper commissioned by the State Government, Cyberbullying, Sexting and the Law, said there was increasing evidence that both traditional face-to-face bullying and cyber-bullying had lasting effects on children and their families, including low self-esteem, depression, anxiety and suicidal ideation.
“By bringing together national and international experts who can share information and resources and inform fellow researchers and education specialists, we can find new ways to help promote student wellbeing and positive mental health, and prevent violence and aggression, bullying and cyber-bullying,’ said Professor Slee.
The conference is being organised in partnership with Flinders Educational Futures Research Institute, The Wellbeing and Resilience Centre (SAHMRI), headspace and Relationships Australia (SA).
It will feature more than 50 presentations from researchers around the world, including India, Japan, China, Russia, Europe, USA, Kenya and Nigeria.
Keynote speakers include:
- Professor Carmel Cefai
Director, Centre for Resilience and Socio-Emotional Health, University of Malta
- Professor Catherine Blaya
President of the International Observatory of Violence in Schools, University of Nice Sophia Antipolis, France.
- Mr Agio Pereira
Honorable Minister of State and of the Presidency of the Council of Ministers, Timor-Leste.
- Mr David Kelly
SAHMRI Resilience & Wellbeing Centre
- Vikki Ryall
Chief Clinician at headspace Melbourne
- Dr Jamie Lee
Principal Researcher, Relationships Australia.
- Dr John Halsey
Professor of Rural Education and Communities, Flinders University School of Education
A special public panel event on July 14, titled ‘The Politics of Wellbeing’ and hosted by the SAHMRI Centre for Resilience and Wellbeing, will include presentations by President Preca; the Special Minister of State Timor-Leste, Agio Pereira; Minister of Education and Child Development Dr Susan Close; Chief Clinician at headspace Melbourne Vikki Ryall; and Relationships Australia principal researcher Dr Jamie Lee.
Further details about the conference can be found here.
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