Cybersin & suicide prevention

Cybersin, a Sunshine Coast produced anti-bullying film, supported by The CorriLee Foundation, was released on Monday September 5th and yesterday, it aired on the popular morning show, Sunrise. With John Jarrett playing the father of a girl who commits suicide after she is cyber-bullied, Evette Henderson’s film was always going to get some attention. In fact, Jarret’s scene, in which he breaks down in front of the mirror in the bathroom before – we assume – going downstairs to greet the guests at his daughter’s wake, is probably the best, in terms of suddenly raising the stakes and asking us to consider the long-term and broader effects of bullying somebody online. That got me. What doesn’t wash so well with me is the inference that the girl’s suicide has occurred after one incidence of cyber-bullying. Now, wait a second. I’m not saying it’s okay to bully (or to be bullied) just the once and I’m not questioning anybody’s decision to choose death over life…well, actually, I am but we’ll get to that in a later post. My problem is this. What exactly are we teaching about bullying and more specifically, in this case, cyber-bullying? What skills and attitudes and approaches are we handing on to our kids so that they may have the courage, strength and support networks to CHOOSE LIFE! If you’re an 80’s child, like I am, you’ll know that the slogan wasn’t just a WHAM! thing.

Launched in 1983 CHOOSE LIFE was part of a range of protest T-shirts by designer Katherine Hamnett.

Perhaps this is the reason behind some school administrations’ claims that the film is “too controversial” to be shown to their students. They think one incident will prompt the most drastic action from copycats. Is that it? It must be because otherwise, I can’t see which aspect of the 8 minutes is too controversial – personally, I feel the message could have been stronger – but such is the bureaucracy in schools these days and good luck getting anything slightly controversial through (though Summer Bay continues to crop up in genre studies, doesn’t it?) Talk to the teachers and parents on the weekends and you’ll hear what actually needs to be discussed (and probably that there is little time to discuss anything “additional”). So what is being discussed? What needs to be discussed further? How do young adults feel when they see Cybersin? Or when they see the many YouTube clips pertaining to suicide stories or (horror) footage from live television shows or cyber-bullying in general or the following TED talk, which you should just stop and take in now…

For me, suicide is no taboo. I’m not 100% comfortable talking about it and I don’t understand some of the things I hear from those who have contemplated suicide or have been affected by suicide. I am unable to understand, for instance, what it is that pushes a person over the edge – what it is that makes you take that step off solid ground, from which you can’t come back, even if you change your mind at the last moment – but I’m not unable to talk about it. We need to talk about it. And, more importantly, we need to listen to those who want to talk about it. Some of the kids are already talking about it. Some of them don’t know how to start. But if we don’t tune in we’ll miss it. The entire conversation. This short film will, at the very least, get the conversations started and that is to be commended. Congrats and thanks to Evette and to all involved in the production and promotion of the film on the Sunshine Coast, using local talent, contributing to the growth of our Screen Industry as well as simply and boldly telling this story and sharing it with those who are ready to listen. Is it you?

Watch Cybersin for yourself and let us know what sort of conversations you are having.

September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day. If you’re on the Sunshine Coast, meet at 5:35am at The Esplanade, Cotton Tree and walk out of the shadows and into the light to raise awareness and raise funds for suicide prevention.

Date: 10 September 2011
Time: 5.35am
Meeting place: The Esplanade, Cotton Tree between First and Second Avenues
Contact:Lee-Anne Borham

Check the website to find a walk near you or register your own walk.

Click Atttending on the Facebook event page

And if you know somebody who needs to talk and wants to do so anonymously, give them one of these numbers

Kids Helpline 1800 55 1800

Lifeline  13 11 14


Download Lifeline Service Finder iPhone App

1 Response to “Cybersin & suicide prevention”

  1. September 6, 2011 at 3:06 pm

    Very good Xanthe. You’ve touched on some serious points there. Particularly “They think one incident will prompt the most drastic action from copycats.” I do believe this to potentially be the case. Nevertheless, Cyber Sin is out there now and available to one and all as a free download. MANY THANKS to the massive support network who contributed to the film’s success.

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