VIDEO: Secret online hub flaunts sickening school fights
IN A sickening spin-off to a local school yard bashing video that went viral yesterday, a secret online hub of school fighting has been uncovered flaunting distressing content for entertainment.
The Fight Club-inspired clips filmed by students at Gympie State High School show young teens pitted against each other in the school yard as one lays into the other while students watch on, some filming it.
In one fight, a high school boy is punched and kicked to the ground, before a final blow appears to knock him unconscious.
The edited videos, which feature slow motion footage on the worst head blows timed to a back ground of rap music, were uploaded to Instagram, attracting a slew of comments.
The social media account was no longer available today and police and Gympie State High School could not confirm whether they would investigate the string of violent videos.
While the stomach-churning violence had obvious physical dangers, leading cyber and school bullying expert Professor Marilyn Campbell, of the Queensland University of Technology's Faculty of Education, said it was the humiliation from school yard bullying that took the biggest toll.
FULL STORY HERE: First vicious school attack caught on camera
"It used to be that bullying was seen as character building - 'what doesn't kill you makes you stronger' - but we've now found out in the last 40 years of research, that being victimised - usually in low level and repeated ways, engenders fear in the kid that is being victimised."
Depression, anxiety, social isolation, withdrawal from other kids, and suicidal thoughts could manifest from bullying if students were not supported in other ways, she said.
"What boys say afterwards is that the physical hurt goes away but the emotional hurt stays - it's the humiliation," she said.
She said the effect on children involved depended on the intent of the violent attacks.
"There's clear difference between fighting and bullying. In fighting - both kids want to do so to win, while in bullying - the person being bullied wants it to stop," Dr Campbell said.
Despite the shocking nature of the entertainment-style videos and their huge reach online, the act of them happening was often more damaging for the student, she said.
"The playground is so much worse because all of your friends and peers stand around and watch you being humiliated.
"I think that the real message for parents and the public is that cyber bullying is only one form of bullying and it's mainly conducted as a continuation of the school yard."
She said while one major reason for violence and bullying was to improve their social status in their peer group, school yard bullying was complicated and had an equally complex solution.
"It depends on the culture of kids and the climate of the school and whether being awful to kids is an accepted norm in that population.
"If it's poorly handled by the adults and the kids are made heroes of, of course it will inflame the situation and they'll do it more."
"It's not just schools that are responsible - it's a huge problem that we're not making a lot a headway with."
Dr Campbell, who was on Queensland's AntiCyberbullying Taskforce, said the first thing kids need to be taught is not to treat it as a spectator sport.
"Don't stand and watch - you are inadvertently giving your power to the person who is bullying. Whether it's a fight or bullying - that gives people an audience.
The Department of Education declined to comment yesterday, but stood by its previous statement about treating school yard violence seriously.
"Gympie State High School does not tolerate bullying and violence and has implemented a range of pastoral care programs and initiatives across all year levels and participates in the annual National Day of Action against Bullying and Violence, " a Department of Education Queensland spokesman said.
"The school has also implemented a school-wide Positive Education program that explicitly teaches students expected behaviours (including anti-bullying).
"The school also offers support to students through a range of support staff, including a Guidance Officer, Student Advisors, a School Based Youth Health Nurse and Youth Support Coordinator.
"Students and caregivers with concerns are strongly encouraged to report cases of bullying or misconduct to their school principal or their closest Department of Education regional office."
Gympie State High School continues to work diligently to promote safe and respectful interactions between students and a safe learning environment for everyone in the school community, the spokesman said.