Online bullying can be such a drag

Speak up: Drag queen Vanessa Wagner (pictured) will MC the Bullying and Social Media Forum at YAC on May 17.

Speak up: Drag queen Vanessa Wagner (pictured) will MC the Bullying and Social Media Forum at YAC on May 17.

Popular north coast drag queen Vanessa Wagner is set to compere a new forum about the prevalence of bullying in social media and how to stay safe while online.

Vanessa (aka Tobin Saunders from ACON) will be joined on stage for the event at the Youth Activities Centre in Byron Bay by Mae Wilde (aka Ilona Harker) and dancing man Tommy Franklin.

YAC’s first-ever Anti-Bullying – Staying Safe on Social Media Forum has been aptly timed to coincide with the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT) on May 17.

In another first for YAC, this event is not only for teenagers. And that’s because this form of bullying crosses all boundaries.

The online world has become a place where people of all ages can be exposed to bullying, and this forum is aimed at all people who may wish to learn more about how to stay safe while using social media – and what can be done if they are experiencing online bullying.

Forum coordinator Nicqui Yazdi said, ‘People of all ages are experiencing social media bullying, it’s not just a teen thing. Yet almost all of the information and resources out there are aimed at teens and their parents. In this forum, we plan on addressing the needs of all groups, from middle-aged women, to young people in the GLBTI communities.

‘Bullying is bullying, no matter who it is coming from, or who it is aimed at and we all need to be more savvy about our online use and try to not only keep ourselves safer, but also look out for others, who may be experiencing bullying.’

Nicqui, along with Ilona Harker, Kirra Pendergast and a few others, have recently got their heads together to tackle the issues of social media bullying by creating SoS – Safe On Social. They plan to develop a set of resources and future workshops for businesses, schools and other individuals and groups who may not realise the long-term implications of their social media use, or misuse.

The forum will have presentations from guest speakers, a panel session with audience Q & A, a ‘world cafe’ event, where various topics will be discussed.

Panel members will be drawn ‘from a wide variety of local community organisations, Nicqui says and will also include young people.

Questions for the panel have been requested in advance, so that any further information or resources can be sourced to help answer any questions on the day. To submit a question, email Nicqui Yazdi at [email protected]

The Anti-Bullying – Staying Safe on Social Media Forum runs from 1pm-5pm at the Byron YAC, 1 Gilmore Crescent, Byron Bay.

Entry is free and there will be afternoon tea and refreshments provided.

The forum has been put together by the BUDDI Community Drug Action Team, with the support of ACON, Byron Youth Service, Safe On Social – SoS, the MindRight Institute and other local community organisations.

Find out more on the BUDDI Community Drug Action Team Facebook page or contact Nicqui on 0402013177 or email [email protected]


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