The Australian federal government has introduced a three-year project aimed at addressing toxic masculinity on social media platforms. The Healthy Masculinities Trial Project has been allocated $3.5 million in funding and is designed to offer both face-to-face and online presentations in schools, sporting clubs, and community organizations. The primary focus is to educate young boys, starting from the age of five, about the importance of fostering respectful relationships with peers and themselves. This initiative is aimed at challenging harmful gender stereotypes and combating the negative messages of toxic masculinity often perpetuated by online influencers.
The funding for this project is part of the $11.9 million First Action Plan Priorities Fund, which falls under the National Plan to End Violence Against Women and Children 2022-32. The government’s objective is to promote healthy relationships and contribute to the broader goal of eradicating violence against women over the next decade.
Amanda Rishworth, the Minister for Social Service, emphasized the link between harmful forms of masculinity and violence against women. She stated that educating young boys about healthy masculinity and providing them with positive role models are vital steps in ending cycles of violence. The project is set to launch in early 2024, and organizations and specialists in the field will have the opportunity to participate.
Social media platforms have come under increasing scrutiny due to their harmful impact on young people. In the United States, over 40 states have initiated a lawsuit against Meta, the parent company of Facebook and Instagram, accusing it of deliberately designing products to be addictive and contributing to the youth mental health crisis. The lawsuit alleges that Meta has deceived the public regarding the detrimental effects of its platforms on children and teenagers.
This legal action claims that Meta’s platforms exploit and manipulate children by using manipulative features, such as the ability to “like” posts and endless scrolling, to make young users addicted to their services and lower their self-esteem. States involved in the lawsuit are seeking court orders to force Meta to make significant changes to its platforms and address the mental health issues affecting a whole generation of young people.
The project aims to create a safer future for the next generation by tackling harmful masculinity and promoting respectful relationships from an early age. This initiative is part of the government’s broader plan to end family and domestic violence.