Australia’s federal government is planning to spend an unprecedented $4 million to help parents, teachers, and school counselors across the nation address bullying. Education Minister Peter Garrett this week chaired an expert panel in Canberra to discuss behavior that victimizes one in six children weekly. Afterwards, he announced the money would fund an online “national hub” of anti-bullying information for parents, as well as training and resources for teachers and school social workers.

Child and adolescent health professor Donna Cross said the forum recognized the need for strong parental involvement in combating the problem. “Troubled children will seek advice online – from counseling sites or from their Facebook and Twitter friends – if their parents do not start the conversation. Young people are turning away from adults as a source of support and are either helping themselves on an online environment or going to their peers,” Dr Cross said. “And sadly their peers are not always giving them the right kind of advice and are often steering them in directions that could increase the harm.”

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