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The Empathy Initiative

The Empathy Initiative logo for eSafety

“Stories teach us empathy.

They reveal to us ourselves in the skins of others.”

– Justin Simien

According to the eSafety Commissioner:

  • 1 in 5 Australian young people reported being socially excluded, threatened or abused online.
  • 1 in 5 Australian young people (15% of kids, 24% of teens) admitted behaving in a negative way to a peer online, such as calling them names, deliberately excluding them, or spreading lies or rumours. Of these, more than 90% had their own negative online experience.

Empathy is a fundamental human trait required to communicate and connect with other people. The use of digital technologies impacts upon this vital skill. With an inward focus, we have neglected and excluded the feelings of others, the needs of others and the concerns of others. Empathy is on the decline.

For people to understand each other and have positive effects on individuals and society, empathy is essential. Empathetic people tend to have greater wellbeing and happier and healthier lives and it is the first step in doing right by others. Importantly, empathy is something that can be learned and essential for eSafety.

The Online Safety Act 2021 (Online Safety Act Fact Sheet) gave the eSafety Commissioner “substantial new powers to protect all Australians across most online platforms and forums where people can experience abuse or be exposed to harmful content. The Act enhances their ability to act quickly to protect victims of online abuse across their reporting schemes.” (https://www.esafety.gov.au/about-us/who-we-are/our-legislative-functions) These new functions, powers and resources empower the eSafety Commissioner to foster online safety.

The Empathy Initiative supports and aligns with the eSafety Commissioner as another preventative tool in combating cyberbullying. The Empathy Initiative aims to develop empathy in students, to inspire them to take action and transform themselves from bystanders to ‘upstanders’ in bullying and cyberbullying situations, and to be mindful of how they use technology.

For Students

Build Empathy

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  • Recognise different viewpoints and perspectives.
  • Identify and acknowledge your own biases.
  • Identify yours and other people’s emotions.
  • Connect your emotions to another person’s emotions.
  • Explain the 3 key reasons why empathy is important.
  • Discuss how to show empathy.
  • Linked to the Australian and Victorian curricula.
  • Suitable for students in years 4-6.

Be An Upstander

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  • Describe what an upstander is and why it is important.
  • Explain why people choose to not stand up for others.
  • Identify the roles involved in cyberbullying.
  • Describe the difference between an upstander and an ally.
  • Identify who can provide help and support.
  • Explain how to be an upstander.
  • Linked to the Australian and Victorian curricula.
  • Suitable for students in years 4-6.

Digital Empathy

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  • Identify the impact of ICT overuse on their learning.
  • Explain the link between ICT and emotions.
  • Identify strategies used by ICT to engage users.
  • Describe strategies to identify and manage their digital behaviours.
  • Explain the impact of ICT on themselves.
  • Recognise when to seek help and from where.
  • Linked to the Australian and Victorian curricula.
  • Suitable for students in years 5-7.

Click below to enquire or to book a session for your students.

For Staff or Parents

“It takes a village to raise a child” is an oft-used, even over-used, quote in education, most likely because in it’s purest form, it’s true. A holistic approach is essential for student learning and wellbeing as is recognised by the federal Education Department: “Research has shown that when schools and families work together, children do better, stay in school longer, are more engaged with their school work, go to school more regularly, behave better, and have better social skills. Parent engagement also results in longer term economic, social and emotional benefits.”

When it comes to eSafety, ensuring that parents, staff and students are all on the same page (yes, storytelling pun intended) is of vital importance.

Why not consider booking Jeremy for a staff PD Day presentation or a parent information night?

*Further discounts apply for a combination of student workshops and presentations.