Media Release - Be Kind Online and make everyone feel welcome

Brimbank Council has launched an anti-cyberbullying campaign aimed at encouraging online spaces where users feel safe and respected and where discussion are meaningful, inclusive and constructive.

The campaign aligns with Brimbank’s Community Engagement Policy adopted earlier this year which states Council is accountable to the promise of accessibility, fairness, honesty and transparency in the practice of engaging with the community.

The short video, which will be shared on Council’s social media channels, reminds people to treat others online like they would in person. 

Social media users are encouraged to share the video to their networks using the #bekindonline

The importance of creating and promoting safe online spaces is particularly relevant in the context of being a Council that is strongly represented by women.

Brimbank’s current Mayor and eight of the eleven Councillors are women and women, in particular, can experience significant abuse online.

Research sighted on the Federal Government’s e-safety website highlights that 30 per cent of women surveyed had experienced online abuse which had led to many stopping or limiting their use of the platforms.

With online abuse being such a problem, it can mean that some voices remain silent because people do not feel safe to feel share their views.  It may also dissuade some people from considering community leadership roles.

The Be Kind Online campaign acknowledges that while it is okay to disagree, it is not okay to put others down because they have a different opinion.

The Be Kind online video will be shared on Council’s social media channels including Facebook, LinkedIn, Instagram and You Tube. 

Brimbank Mayor Cr Ranka Rasic said:

“While Council cannot control what people say or do on social media, we can call out bad behaviour and remind people to be respectful.

“As a public figure I have been targeted by online trolls and bullies, and it is not okay.  We need to be kind always – in person and online.

“Our city’s greatest strength is our people and the wonderful diversity of people and cultures, we need to encourage everyone to feel safe to have their say.

“We won’t always disagree but together we will achieve much more when we are respectful and don’t call people names or treat them badly because they have different opinions.

“On Facebook there are some people that dominate the conversation and attack others if they don’t agree.  This isn’t helpful and so much more can be achieved when we are kind.”