Fed up with the proliferation of violent images and videos on social media, Minto’s Selwyn Lloyd decided to fight fire with fire.
The NSW Council for Pacific Communities young adult representative launched an anti-violence campaign: #FistsDown.
The campaign aims to combat the number of violent social media posts with posts promoting people’s dedication to non-violence.
The campaign has drawn support from NSW police, NSW Fire and Rescue, Multicultural NSW, Department of Justice and the local South West Multicultural and Community Centre.
“It’s been great to have them come on board and show their support,” said Mal Fruean, from the community centre.
“They are the first on the scene when these incidents are happening – it’s really encouraging to have them come to us and say they’d like to be involved.”
Mr Lloyd said the more people that get behind this campaign the better, as social media is the dominant form of communication between young people.
“I knew if I was to venture into this campaign that I had a tonne of support behind me,” he said.
“A lot of it is my initiative, my idea, but at the same time it’s not just me doing the work and I knew that from day one.”
Mr Lloyd said the number one reason young people should avoid violence is simple: family.
“People think about themselves when they’re in a violent state, but violence affects so much more than the person themselves,” he said.
“Family is key for non-violence – violence affects families and creates a chain reaction within families.
“There shouldn’t be a point where we have to create campaigns to stop violence.
“In a perfect world it’d be all roses and flowers and rainbows everywhere. But we don’t live in that world.”
Mr Lloyd said times had changed a lot since he was at school only five years ago, with fights now commonly being records and shared online.
He said the challenge is learning to think smart in violent situations.
“Everyone’s tested, everyone’s going to be tested,” he said.
“But it’s about putting the message across in the time that the test comes – can we face it and make the right decision?
“The campaign doesn’t have to touch the millions – if it can get to one kid out there who makes a right decision instead of a wrong decision than we’ve done our job and what we set out to do.”
The campaign struck a chord with Crystal Stewart of 79 Ingleburn Fire Station, who saw #FistsDown posts on Facebook and decided to get involved.
She got in touch with her superiors and helped the station lend its support to the cause.
“Social media is what young kids today turn to for everything, good and bad,” the Ingleburn resident said.
“This is about spreading the message and getting young people to see it and click in and learn about #FistsDown.
“I also though it would be a good idea for us to jump on board so the everyday Joe of our community can see [fire fighters] do get involved in community stuff – we are actually here for our community.”