BULLYING, particularly cyber bullying, is one of the most pressing issues for young people in Knox, a council plan has found.
The Knox Youth Strategic Plan, adopted by the council at its most recent meeting, includes information on how the council will tackle youth issues during the next five years. A total of 843 young people, parents, service providers, council staff and community members were consulted and 1663 issues were raised.
The plan prioritises the need to support disadvantaged youth, especially those from diverse backgrounds and those experiencing mental health problems. Despite little mention of bullying — and no mention of cyber-bullying — in a similar 2005 report, those issues were particularly prominent in this plan.
The council's youth services co-ordinator Tony Justice said addressing cyber bullying was something the council had been working on for several years.
Cyber safety workshops had been held for teachers and discussions held with schools about how to deal with the increase of bullying in the online world.
Mr Justice said one of the most important warnings they could give young people was to be very careful of what they put online. "We want to get them to think that what you put online or on your Facebook page at 13 or 14 may stay there forever."
Also mentioned in the plan was the council's intent to engage with young people more actively by using online tools like YouTube and Skype.
The council had already used YouTube for the Green Foot Flicks film festival and was considering using Skype to interact with other youth councils across the state.
The council also had plans to make a YouTube video about the 2012-17 strategic plan, Mr Justice said.
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When the Weekly spoke to year 12 students at Wantirna College this week, they said the best way to tackle all of the issues outlined in the Knox Youth Strategic Plan would be to better utilise social media.