Rachel Downie’s NUMBER ONE thing parents need to know

By ParentTV on 5 Feb 2021
Categories: General Parenting

As a former teacher herself, Rachel Downie saw the reality of bullying in our schools. She saw the devastation it caused to children, families and communities, and the way it turned classrooms and playgrounds into warzones for kids who were meant to be there to learn. As the digital generation started school, we realised that they wouldn’t necessarily get a reprieve when the bell went either, as their bullies are just as likely to be waiting for them on their computer, iPad or phone, when they get home. After a Year 9 student that Rachel knew took their own life after experiencing bullying, she got serious about addressing the issue of bullying in schools, and came up with Stymie, an online platform for kids to anonymously report incidences of bullying or harm among their peers.

Rachel’s work with Stymie led to her 2020 Queensland Australian of the Year gong, and we couldn’t be more chuffed that her efforts are getting the recognition they deserve. When we told her that we were working on a ParentTV book called Parents, this is the one thing you need to know, her contribution was a no-brainer – a chapter called Bullying, resilience and the courage to care

What we really like about Rachel’s approach to the issue of bullying is that she looks at the whole picture: Why bullies do what they do, how our society breeds this behaviour, why people don’t help when they see it happening, how kids can support others who are being bullied and what they can actually do or say when they’re the target. She’s practical about it, and knows there are some very real barriers to addressing bullying, both online and offline, and we can’t just gloss over the obstacles when we talk about solutions. Kids might not want to dob, they might fear reprisal, they might not want to ‘betray’ someone’s secret, and they might just not know what to do. Fortunately for us, Rachel has developed some smart, effective strategies to address these problems, and she outlines them beautifully in Parents, this is the one thing you need to know.

Notable quotable:

One of the hardest things that we have to deal with as parents or carers is when our children are treated badly by others; our protective instincts kick in, we react and want to take control of the situation because we want to heal their hurt and make it better. Sometimes in reacting, though, we can take away the power from our child because when we make choices and act for them, instead of explicitly including them in the next steps that require their courage and resilience, they are further disempowered by what has been going on.

Rachel Downie

We recommend this top video from Rachel Downie:

Bullying Tweens

What bullying is and what bullying isn’t

What is a parent to do when their child comes home and says they have been bullied? The very first thing a parent needs to do is asses the situation by knowing what bullying is and what it isn’t.


For a limited time only, sign up to ParentTV and you’ll get a free copy of Parents, this is the one thing you need to know, published by Affirm Press and edited by ParentTV founder Sam Jockel, and fellow PTVer, Kerri Ryan. Of course, you’ll also also be able to watch Rachel’s excellent short videos for ParentTV as many times as you like, including What parents need to understand about online gaming, What if my child has bullying behaviours, and the equally terrifying and fascinating insights contained in We asked 20 000 students, ‘What’s something you do on the internet at home that you’re not allowed to?’

Is it comfortable viewing? Not always. Is it essential? Yep.