Sticks ‘n Stones is a group of over 70 passionate Central Otago young people from years 8-13 who are committed to taking positive action online to stop cyberbullying. They are such a great team and the whole organisation is actually led by the young people themselves. They do the finance, they organising, the public speaking, the raising awareness initiatives etc. all themselves. Their success is a fantastic example of how youth respond the best when the messages come from other youth.
The commitment, passion and creativity of these young people has received incredible support and they are looking to expand outside of the region to offer young people across New Zealand a platform to have their voices heard. We are stoked to be part of that.
As a business we have worked in the online space for a long time. So supporting a project in the online space made real sense to us – especially one as powerful as this. This is where our kids future is and we feel strongly about supporting a group that is, without a doubt, going to change kids' lives for the better.
Our funding will enable Sticks ‘n' Stones to build on data analysis of its 2015 bullying survey, a detailed insight from 11-18 year olds on their experience with, and perspective of, online bullying.
The findings will form a valuable model for the New Zealand government and other organisations when they are collecting youth information. The project's first data collection in 2013, which surveyed 11-18 year olds across Central Otago, found over 86 % believe cyber bullying is an issue for young Kiwis. Together we are going to help change this.
The name Sticks ‘n' Stones was inspired by the cliché 'Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me', challenging it to prove that words actually do hurt.
Internationally, a February 2015 survey of over 450 students aged 11 to 15 by the US Cyberbullying Centre found that over 34% of students have been cyber bullied in their lifetime, and in the previous 30 days over 10% were threatened with harm in a SMS message.
There are no quick fixes of course and behaviour change takes time with consistent support from across the community and we are committed for the long term.
Find more about Sticks'n'Stones here: