By Cheyne Abdullah
4 February 2015
The Internet, it's a strange and wonderful universe. Something that even a galaxy far, far away could never imagine was possible. With a touch of a screen we can watch the latest episode of Game of Thrones, book a flight to Disneyland, or quickly buy the new Taylor Swift album. These tasks are possible without ever leaving the comfort of our own bed or changing out of our gorgeously unembarrassing Spider-Man pj's.
These amazing feats are simply the tip of the iceberg in terms of the magic that is possible with the creation of the Internet. However, not everything is as rosy as a brand new shiny cabbage patch doll. Cyberbullying is rapidly on the rise in Australia, with young people being the most affected by this horrible phenomenon.
So how can we stop cyberbullying? It's a question that academics with far superior intelligence than Peter Parker and myself have studied for the better part of the last decade. Unlike movies and television there is no clear answer to every question; the best we can do to prevent cyberbullying is to try to create a positive and safe online environment for not only ourselves but those around us as well. To help make this dream a reality without over-priced peripherals or 3D glasses, the Safe and Well Online team (part of the Young and Well Cooperative Research Centre) have devised a campaign and initiative in the form of Appreciate a Mate.
Appreciate a Mate is an app that not unlike Superman helps spread positivity to the world. The evil and dastardly villains of the cyberbullying world have nothing on the powers of positivity and appreciation. The Appreciate a Mate app allows users to create beautifully crafted positive messages that can be easily sent directly to their friends via their favourite social network. The goal of Appreciate a Mate is pretty simple, so simple in fact that like me you don't even need to read the sixth Harry Potter book to understand it; the goal is in the name: APPRECIATE A MATE!
Appreciate a Mate is here to allow users to appreciate one another, it's not here to judge or mock or ridicule, it's here to simply appreciate, and in a world where negativity is thrown around like a rusty old batarang – could anything be better than a little positive appreciation?
So how can you help Appreciate a Mate? Don't worry, we're not going to ask for donations, nor am I going to drop my hat and start doing my Beyoncé single ladies dance until my hat is full of cash and your rushing for the nearest can of acid to cleanse your eyes. All you have to do is 'appreciate a mate' by checking us out on the web, or, for you trendy Apple users download the app directly from iTunes (opens in a new window). If that's not enough appreciation for one day, check out our Appreciate a Mate YouTube page (opens in a new window) and enjoy 76 seconds of nothing but unadulterated positivity, happiness and above all else, appreciation.
So what are you waiting for? Drop everything, except large bowling balls, as they tend to be quite painful when they make contact with the human anatomy, and be a hero and #appreciateamate today!
About the Author
Cheyne Abdullah is a University of Western Sydney summer intern working on the Safe and Well Online project. He is also co-founder of the Speed force, which gives Barry Allen (who secretly protects the world as the Flash. Shh it's a secret) his super speed. He has read over three New York Times bestsellers and enjoyed his re-watch of Frozen in Spanish far more than any of them. To find out more about this lovable broccoli muncher give him a follow on Twitter @CheyneA (opens in a new window).