Press Club lunch with Tara Moss
By Claire Melloy, Director of Student Development
Tara Moss is an author, journalist, TV documentary presenter, human rights advocate and anti-cyberbullying campaigner.
On Wednesday Georgie Sayers, Jennifer Kerr, Rachael Phelan, Nicole Georgopoulos and I attended a Press Club lunch to hear Tara Moss speak on the issues associated with, and the implications and impacts of, cyberbullying.
Tara shared her own experiences as a victim of online abuse and the lengths she had to go to get abusive accounts shut down.
Tara spoke about how more often than not when people are the victims of cyberbullying they retreat from the social media space. She said many young women particularly will self-censor to avoid abuse. She mentioned that a lot of women writing online are targeted and receive a disproportionate share of abuse online. She then spoke about the link between cyber abuse and mental illness.
Tara highlighted that this isn’t a technology issue, it is people ‘pouring their prejudice’ into technology.
She called for more perpetrator prevention and fundamental changes to some processes to ensure greater consistency, such as police recording victim statements straight into a device with prompting questions (as opposed to recording things in a notebook.)
Implications discussed for schools were to ensure that students fully understand online ethics, the law and their rights online.
During question time Georgie Sayers asked a superb question about the role of those with a strong following online and those in positions of power to ensure that their voices always modelled respectful behavior on and offline. Several journalists said they wished they had thought of that!