Anti-bullying group uses 'disappearing' media

ticks ’n Stones members (from left) Courtney Smith (17), of Naseby, Abby Golden (15), of Alexandra, and Tamara Hansen (15), of Cromwell, SNS director Karla Sanders, of Alexandra, SNS members Molly Redican (13), of Alexandra and Christie Grocott (15), of W
Sticks ’n Stones members (from left) Courtney Smith (17), of Naseby, Abby Golden (15), of Alexandra, and Tamara Hansen (15), of Cromwell, SNS director Karla Sanders, of Alexandra, SNS members Molly Redican (13), of Alexandra and Christie Grocott (15), of Wellington, and Facebook head of policy and communications for Australia and New Zealand, Mia Garlick, gather ideas at last week’s ‘‘disappearing’’ media conference at Facebook’s Melbourne offices. Photo supplied.
Work done at an international level to ensure young people remain safe using ''disappearing'' media is continuing on the local stage, members of the anti-cyber bullying group Sticks 'n Stones (SNS) say.

Five pupil members and the adult director of the Central Otago-based group attended a Facebook conference in Melbourne last week about the increasingly popular phenomenon, also known as deletable or ephemeral media.

Snapchat is one of the main forms of disappearing media, in which photos or videos can be viewed for only a short timeframe (usually around 10 seconds) before disappearing.

SNS director Karla Sanders said the conference had a ''#girltakeover'' theme leveraging on Plan International's ''#girltakeover'' movement that put girls and women ''in the driver's seat in spaces where their voices are not traditionally heard''.

Ambassadors from Plan International - a development and humanitarian organisation that advances children's rights and equality for girls - took over the Facebook Australia Facebook account for the day of the conference, at the Facebook offices in Melbourne, posting their insights, Mrs Sanders said.

The SNS members - Courtney Smith (17), of Naseby, Abby Golden (15), of Alexandra, Tamara Hansen (15), of Cromwell, Molly Redican (13), of Alexandra and Christie Grocott (15), of Wellington - worked alongside Facebook, anti-bullying and youth leadership organisation Project ROCKIT and Plan International to collaborate, plan and deliver the conference session for about 50 young women from across Victoria.

The SNS youth members said the ideas discussed at the conference were valuable, and increasingly so because they allowed young people to have a voice.

''As Sticks 'n Stones is a youth-led group it was great to see more young people putting their ideas out there rather than just letting a bunch of adults make decisions about us, without involving us,'' Abby said.

They said it was vital to ensure young people felt comfortable and safe using disappearing media with their peers.

Although disappearing media was overwhelmingly positive, as it gave people the opportunity to share content without the pressure ''to be curated or gain maximum 'likes''', it was vital to discuss how to handle any ''negative'' conversations or images, such as those that were sexually explicit and/or sent unsolicited, Mrs Sanders said.

SNS would now crowd-source ideas and co-design messages with other young people to further inform and empower young people using disappearing media, she said.

pam.jones@odt.co.nz

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