Attitudes, one person at a time

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be involved if we are not bringing something to the table that is worthwhile. We can add value to what is happening and offer a different point of view that will engage our peers inmore meaningful ways.
‘ . .. what we weren’t taught was how we are supposed to react when the dangers aren’t strangers after all — they were our peers — the people whose opinions matter
the most to us were the ones bullying us. ‘
QThe cycle of bullying is complex. What would you say to people who themselves have been bullies in the past, and now wish to speak out about the issue? Does your group help both those who may have been bullied and those who may regret some of their past actions?
It is really complex. Research says that no-one who is happy, safe and loved engages in bullying. If someone has bullied in the past, that doesn’t need to define them. We are all so much more than a label we are given or mistakes we have made. The fact that the bully has stopped bullying and is now standing against it shows they understand the harm they caused and want to do something about it. SNS is not only helping the bullied but the people who once bullied to learn, grow and make a difference in their own lives.
QYour group is student-led. Is that important?
We think being a student-led group is what makes SNS most powerful, because when the messages get through, the problems have more of a chance to get solved. Victims of cyber bullying would be most comfortable talking with students around their age, especially if they have a friend in SNS. What better way of solving a problem related to social media by getting the most experienced social media users in the world [teenagers/ students] to support you?
Social media is always changing and being updated, and our generation is right in the middle of that and will always be up to date on the platforms being used. Therefore we have a unique insight on how people are being reached by bullies. One of our members said in school they were always taught about creepy old men using your public information on facebook to stalk you, and random scammers who will take all your money — basically stranger danger in the cyber world. But what we weren’t taught was how we are supposed to react when the dangers aren’t strangers after all — they were our peers, the people whose opinions matter the most to us were the ones bullying us. Most adults find it hard to grasp the fact we can’t just block the bully or delete the app, because the internet is a huge place. If someone wants to reach you, they can. As young people, we understand the right and necessity we have owning technology. We use this knowledge to tailor our programme to give the support and provide the information we never had.