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Project Rockit - Episode 4

Project Rockit - Episode 4

To wrap up September, we are beyond excited to share an international perspective on PACERTalks About Bullying. In this week’s episode we had an interview with staff from Project Rockit, an Australian organization that focuses on youth-drive movements against bullying. This video shows that bullying prevention is an international issue and that together, we can help create a world with bullying. We’ll see you back here next week as we kick off the start of National Bullying Prevention Month!

  • Author: NBPC
  • Duration: 8:35 minutes
  • Date Posted: 9/26/2018

Series: PACERTalks About Bullying - Season 2

We are thrilled to return for another season with more videos featuring interviews, stories, and informational content. New this season will be the feature “Ask Us” in which we will respond to questions from students around the world.


>> Hey, everyone. So we are super-excited for this episode of PACERTalks About Bullying to do a new monthly feature where we will be highlighting some amazing international organizations that do work -- are doing work all around bullying prevention.

So for this week's episode, we are really excited to have our friends from Project Rockit in Australia. Thanks for being here.

>> Thanks for having us.

>> So my first question is I would just love for each of you to introduce yourself and give a little information about Project Rockit and what you do.

>> Yeah, so my name is Dani. I'm a Lead Presenter at Project Rockit.

>> My name is also Dani, or Danielle. It's great. And I'm also a Lead Presenter.

>> And my name is Archie and I'm Head of Programs at Programs at Project Rockit.

>> Yeah, and essentially, Project Rockit, we're Australia's youth-driven movement against bullying and prejudice. So what that means is we get to travel to schools all around the country and work in schools with students and basically give them practical tools, but like relatable tools, that they can use in their own lives to challenge bullying. We basically empower people to stand up against bullying, use social leadership. We also talk about the online role as well, so -- and challenging social labels, so we do a bunch of different things like that.

>> And we do this through interactive workshops with lots of discussion with students and [indiscernible] as well, and also we have a program called Project Rockit Online, which is successful online, and Project Rockit TV.

>> Yeah, I suppose essentially we believe in a world where kindness and respect [indiscernible] bullying, hate, and prejudice, and it's our mission to give young people ways to stand up for themselves, stand up for mates, and overcome hate, whether it's happening face to face or online.

>> So my first question for you is: How do you define bullying?

>> Sure, so "bullying" can be a really hot-topic word, the way we often look at it is it's important to identify it by something that's [indiscernible] and also an element of power dynamics, so power, and that could be like having a group versus one person, it could be [indiscernible], age, authority and leadership, and also like [indiscernible] because of their difference, which could mean like things like gender and sexuality, race, [indiscernible].

>> And we explore bullying at Project Rockit both online and offline. In fact, we spend a lot of time talking specifically about cyber-bullying and how social media has kind of changed the scene of bullying a little bit, but the most important thing that we show in that context is that even though bullying can be playing out online, it's still a social issue. It's just happening in a technological space, so regardless of how we talk about bullying, we're always trying to provide social ways to stand up and challenge it and stand up for yourself.

>> So my next question is a little bit about laws, so what laws are in Australia that kind of govern bullying and the way that schools work around the issue?

>> So the laws definitely vary from state to state. As an overarching, I guess, more federal rule is that schools in Australia actually have a legal obligation to take steps to address bullying and to actually make sure that schools are a safe environment. There's a lot of different acts in legislation, federal legislation that do govern the way that the whole country can, you know, make sure that schools are a safe environment, but state to state it can differ. So in Victoria, which is where we're based, essentially the joint schools are required to, and I'll quote it, "have a safe learning environment where harm is minimized and students feel physically and emotionally secure." So the laws are pretty serious around here just in terms of ensuring that students are safe. That said, at Project Rockit, we definitely focus more on the social issues [indiscernible] schools just because we're having kind of eye-to-eye conversations with students. We know that sometimes the legislation [indiscernible], so [indiscernible] empowering everyone to stand up instead of scare tactics because sometimes they just don't work, so that's how we kind of approach those issues when we're talking to students.

>> As Dani said, at Project Rockit, we don't focus on the legal side of things when we speak to young people because we think that the root of all of this is a social issue, so if we can give them skills, foundations to kind of solve these issues or come to the problem with these social skills, then hopefully we don't need to get to the point where we're getting the law involved.

>> So my next question is: You've worked with so many schools all across Australia. Do you have any success stories that you can share about students implementing the tools that you've given them and how it's really empowered them in bullying situations?

>> Yeah, and I'd say, like at the end of the day, at Project Rockit, we believe in like the really small achievable day-to-day things that you can do to support someone, to stand by your own values, to challenge hate and prejudice and [technical glitch] movement or starting a hashtag that goes viral or even uploading a video. I mean, if you do that, that's amazing, good for you, but -- we will sign up, we will subscribe, we will support you, but sometimes it's just writing a positive comment to make someone else's day or, you know, depending on your confidence level, maybe you send someone a direct message and say, "Hey, I see you're having a bit of a hard time. Are you okay?" That takes confidence and it changes people's lives, so we've always emphasized the importance of those small, achievable, easy ways to support others and essentially stand by your own values.

>> Exactly, and so I think the first person to do it can encourage others, too, [indiscernible]. And so many of our tips that we share come from students themselves that work for them, then we share them with other students, so it's great.

>> If you had to tell someone one thing about how to help create a world without bullying, what would it be?

>> I think my message would be that understanding is -- understanding one another is so underestimated. To have the ability to understand someone, particularly because of like their diversity or their difference, it just means that there's more harmony, and basically, using empathy and understanding to ensure that no one goes through a bullying situation, because no one deserves to go through a bullying situation. It's not something that one person deserves and one person doesn't, so understanding that no one deserves it and using kindness and using empathy and understanding to ensure that people feel supported, because we often say at Project Rockit that sometimes the worst part about going through a bullying situation is thinking that you're going through it alone and that no one disagrees with what's happening, so we don't think that it's up to the person being bullied to create that world without bullying. We think that anyone can have an impact just by reaching out to someone and saying, like, "Hey, just letting you know I've got your back," like that is one small step that everyone can take to create that world.

>> Maybe to be a bit realistic and say we can't fix bullying and cyber-bullying overnight, but if we all try in our own little worlds to, in little ways, day by day, to create that positive change, change people's views, [indiscernible] agree with, then we [indiscernible] and just [indiscernible].

>> Well, both of my messages were just stolen. I agree with both. I think empathy is key and I think not to be disheartened or overwhelmed and feel like how are we going to eradicate bullying overnight, because the reality is we can't, but we can all do something, and I think if I could inject one message into everyone's thought processes around the world, it would be to celebrate diversity. I think diversity is incredible, being different is incredible, that our differences [technical glitch] and the one thing we all have in common is that we're different, right? We're all diverse and that that should be celebrated, and I think if everyone spent more time learning about others, celebrating others for what makes them different, then the world would be a much more exciting, inclusive, and beautiful space. Yeah.

>> I love that, and I think those are amazing messages that all of our audience, everyone watching, can take away and find something from, and it's something that we can all have a part in, like you said, and I just love those, and my heart's so happy. Make sure to join us right back here next week with PACERTalks About Bullying, and remember, together we can all help to create a world without bullying. Bye.