Turning tables on the taunters

A Sydney digital creative and father of three, Galvin Scott Davis, has taken the idea that the anonymity of technology encourages bullying and turned it on its head.

Galvin Scott Davis's eight-year-old son, Carter, came to him for help after being bullied. Despite it being such a common problem, Davis couldn't find children's literature that dealt adequately with the topic.

''Bullying seems to be on the rise, especially with cyberbullying,'' Davis says. ''There didn't seem to be many platforms children could access to be able to get the confidence to talk about it.''

Davis, an experienced storyteller as both an app developer and a writer for film and TV in the US, took matters into his own hands, with plans for a short film about bullying. When this became too expensive, he decided to create an app instead.

The 40-year-old flew to the US to open a business there just so he could register the project on the crowd-funding website Kickstarter. The project was a success, raising more than $39,000 from 334 backers in 30 days. ''We were very lucky,'' he says.

A study by the Australian Catholic University in June of 700 Victorian school students from years 7 to 9 found 15 per cent admitted to being the perpetrators of cyberbullying. This was largely driven by the ever-increasing uptake of smartphones, according to the research.

A separate study by online security firm AVG, in November 2011, found cyberbullying of 10- to 13-year-olds in Australia was the highest in the world - tied with the US at 9 per cent - compared with a global average of 5 per cent.


Turning tables on the taunters (Sydney Morning Herald)