Celebrated annually, today marks Do It for Dolly Day, an initiative created by Kate and Tick Everett following their daughter Dolly’s suicide in 2018, due to cyberbullying.
“By coming together on Friday 8 May and getting behind the cause, people will encourage their mates to do the same and, before long, everyone will feel brave enough to speak out against bulling,” Tick Everett said.
Following their daughter’s tragic death, the Everetts established Dolly’s Dream, a charity focused on cyber literacy and educating parents, teachers and children about the best ways to navigate the internet safely.
With schools in Victoria completing the semester via remote learning and social distancing restrictions in place, young people are increasingly interacting with each other exclusively in the online sphere.
The eSafety commissioner says that their offices received a dramatic increase in complaints as soon as social distancing restrictions were put into place.
“If you look at our stats in March, once the self-isolation started, we’ve had a 40 percent increase overall. This is compared to weekly report averages over the past year.” Online safety regulator, Inman Grant, told ABC’s Triple J Hack.
“For the month of March we had a 21 percent increase in cyberbullying.”
The complaints included taunts and coronavirus specific comments, such as multiple reports of children telling others they “hope they get coronavirus and die”.
“The vital message of ‘Do It For Dolly Day’ has never been more important than now, as COVID-19 forces our kids to spend even more time online, both learning and socialising,” eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant told 10 daily.
Do it for Dolly Day, aims to bring the community together with the purpose of celebrating kindness and taking a stand against all forms of bullying.
To raise awareness, people have been asked to wear blue and share on social media using the hashtag #DoItForDolly.
“In the restrictions that we find ourselves in now, it couldn’t be more important to be kind to each other, so we’re asking people to dress in blue again, we’re asking people to post it on social media, but most of all … just be kind,” Kate Everett told A Current Affair last night.
If you or someone you know needs help dealing with depression you can call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Kids Helpline on 1800 55 1800.
For further information about mental health support contact Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636 or talk to your GP, local health professional or someone you trust.
Photo: Victoria Health available here and used under a Creative Commons Attribution. The image has not been modified