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Need to combat cyber bullying at schools

21 September, 2007

Sinn Féin Education Spokesperson, Paul Butler MLA has said schools in North should be given help to set up to awareness programmes against cyber bullying and given guidance on taking action against pupils who use mobile phones and the internet to bully other children and teachers.

Mr Butler Said:

"For some time there has been a clear need for awareness programmes and guidance for both children and parents to highlight the dangers of unsupervised use of internet chat rooms and various web sites. There also needs to be a wider consultation between anti-bullying experts, mobile phone companies and websites including Bebo, MySpace and YouTube.

"Cyber bullying and malicious use of the internet can cause its victims serious hurt and pain and the effects can remain hidden if victims do not to seek support and help.

"Teaching staff have also fallen victim to cyber bullying both in and outside school. Teaching unions have complained about websites which allow pupils to make anonymous criticisms of school staff. Offensive comments and video clips should not be allowed to undermine teachers' authority and their professional reputations

"Technology is moving so quickly it's hard to keep up with the dangers it can create but as new technology enables bullies to develop increasingly sophisticated techniques so we must also develop new ways to prevent it.

"The welfare of both teaching staff and pupils is paramount. The environment of teaching and learning must be done in a safe and secure setting." ENDS

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