Why kids still need to talk about cyberbullying


Kate McCaffrey’s Destroying Avalon was Australia’s first novel to depict the effects of cyberbullying. A decade on, Kate explains why she’s returned to similar territory in her forthcoming book Saving Jazz.

It’s ten years since Destroying Avalon. Why return to the subject of cyberbullying?

Technology. When I wrote Destroying Avalon cyberbullying was just being discovered and delivered through what we now regard as rudimentary devices. It allowed for anonymity and secrecy. Now, with a smart phone in every hand, access to the internet is unlimited, and with the evolution of the selfie has come greater identity exposure.

Why is Saving Jazz controversial?

The main event is a sex crime that will make many people feel confronted by the actions. Also, the novel is written from the perspective of one of the perpetrators of the sex crime, who is a girl.

What do your characters know about the online world that most parents don’t get?

The phone isn’t used to create social events, it is social events. Phones and laptops are the central tool of a teenager’s social network. They can’t be turned off without excommunicating the teenager from their social life.

The author will be available for events in Perth throughout 2016 and in Melbourne in August 2016.

 

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