THE ever-increasing number of social media platforms used for cyber-bullying are the trigger for a series of community information sessions across the Shire of Mundaring.
The new Seen and Heard-run program will aim to teach parents and carers strategies to raise awareness and help their communication with teens.
Through the workshops, parents will learn how to make use of government websites on cyber and general online safety.
The first meeting will focus on ‘Communicating with your teen’, from 6pm to 8pm on May 2 at Chidlow Pavilion, with a second workshop on May 16 at Darlington Hall. A third session will run at Sawyers Valley Hall on June 13 to look at ways to help reduce the potential risks to young people and where to access support.
Parkerville Children and Youth Care psychologist Sian Trigwell and Seen and Heard program manager Sophie Harrington will lead the information sessions.
“The feedback we have received from parents and schools is that cyber-bullying is an ongoing area of concern and more information on this topic would be helpful in the ever-changing social media space,” Ms Harrington said.
“Cyber-bullying continues to be an issue and it’s a hard one for parents to monitor.”
She said many homes had Wi-Fi and without restriction, inappropriate content was easy to access, particularly when teens were in their bedrooms.
Parents who deny any access to social media are likely to face accusations by their child of isolating them from their peer group.
“We want to provide general information sessions for parents to support them with strategies to help bridge the communication gap in a safe and informal environment,” she said.
The workshops will also look at “understanding teenagers”.
She said parents often commented that their son or daughter did not listen to them and equally heard from young people that “my parents just don’t understand me”.
The idea for the community sessions came about through feedback from the Seen and Heard community network with local high schools, school chaplains, parents and teenagers.
Earlier this week, the Seen and Heard crew visited Swan View Senior High School to meet with teenagers and hold a barbecue, part of events to mark today’s national day of action against bullying and violence.
Places are limited and registration is required.
Visit the Seen and Heard Facebook page or email firstname.lastname@example.org.