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Will you take the pledge to stand up to cyber bullies?

Charlotte Dawson was a contestant on the 2012 series of Celebrity Apprentice.
Charlotte Dawson was a contestant on the 2012 series of Celebrity Apprentice. Contributed - Channel 9

LESS than 500 people have signed up so far to an anti-bullying campaign on Facebook aimed at stopping cyber trolls.

But Facebook, which launched the Australia-wide Be Bold, Stop Bullying campaign in southern newspapers today, hopes thousands of Aussies will join up.

The campaign includes an interactive app where adults and children alike pledge to rail against bullying.

"I will take a stand when I see young people humiliating or hurting each other," the pledge for students reads.

"I will not use my phone or computer to spread rumours or say hateful things, and I won't ignore it when others are cruel and intimidating."

Adults can promise to recognise bullying is not "young people being young people" and work with schools, coaches and parents to eradicate it, especially if their own child is involved.

The app includes a map showing how many people in each state are prepared to take a stand and also provides information on where to go for help.

As of 12.30pm on Friday, just over 450 people had taken the pledge - only 54 in Queensland - despite publicity on radio stations.

In Victoria, there were less than 100.

The campaign is being launched by School Education Minister Peter Garrett and celebrity DJ Ruby Rose.

It follows a similar campaign in the US in which one million people signed on.

You can join the campaign and sign the pledge here

News Ltd papers in Sydney and Melbourne have been running a strong campaign highlighting issues around trolls amid concerns about the ferocity of some posts.

School Facebook "burn books" have become hugely popular with teens ridiculing teachers and students with offensive comments and unflattering photos.

Locally, there have been sites set up - and then pulled down - rating the sexual performances of students.

Television personality Charlotte Dawson has become the face of Australia's anti-trolling movement after she ended up in hospital for psychiatric treatment after being targeted by bullies.

Recently she appeared on Channel 7 outing several bullies who were reportedly tracked down by a private investigator.

She told The Age she had no reason to stay out of the limelight following her August suicide attempt, sparked by a barrage of abuse, mostly anonymous, on Twitter.

Dawson, who has suffered from depression for 12 years, is continuing ongoing psychiatric treatment as well as her social media activities, despite attracting yet more criticism in recent days.

Mental health advocacy group Headspace initiated the campaign.

"At headspace, we're all too aware of the impact bullying can have on someone's mental health. Bullying shouldn't be seen as a normal part of growing up, the effects are serious and can last a lifetime,'' CEO Chris Tanti said.

"Whether bullying happens online or face to face there's usually someone else who sees it happen.

"That's why we've partnered with Facebook on this campaign - to give power to those bystanders and show how they can take action by challenging or reporting the behaviour and supporting the person affected."

Support is available for anyone who may be distressed by calling Lifeline 131 114, Mensline 1300 789 978, Kids Helpline 1800 551 800.

THE PLEDGE FOR ADULTS

Bullying is not just "young people being young people". It can have a damaging impact on children, families and communities. As an adult, I know I can help in a few specific ways. Here is my pledge:

I will speak up - I will take a stand about this issue, even before it touches my friends and family, so everyone knows I take it seriously.

I will advocate - I will advocate for children, both my own and others, in need of my help. I will support quality bullying prevention training for all school staff so everyone can effectively help our children.

I will be a role model - I will show young people how to deal with conflicts by setting the standard with my own behavior.

I will be a partner - I will work with schools, parents, caretakers, coaches, and others working hard to stop bullying - especially if they report my child is involved.

Bullying makes young people want to be invisible.

We can show them, through our actions, that we see them, we are listening - and most importantly - they can count on us to make their lives better.

Taking this pledge is the first step, so I will forward it to my friends and family to grow a community committed to ending bullying. I will speak up.

Will you take the pledge to stand up to cyber bullies?

This poll ended on 16 November 2012.

Current Results

Yes. It's everyone's responsibility to stamp out these people.

55%

No. This is a cop-out by Facebook. They should do more.

44%

This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.

Topics:  charlotte dawson cyber bullies facebook trolls


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