Government publishes guidelines to tackle cyber-bullies

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Government publishes guidelines to tackle cyber-bullies

Ringing the changes to tackle bullies.

The Department for Education and Skills has published new guidelines to tackle cyber-bulling in English schools.

One in five pupils said they have been victims of either bullying by mobile phone text messages and calls or online according to the DfES. Online the bullies target their victims via email, instant messaging applications or at online chat rooms.

Research published by the Anti Bullying Alliance last week showed that girls are significantly more likely to be cyber-bullied, especially by text messages and phone calls, than boys.

However, one in three pupils bullied never report the incidents to parents or schools.

Gill Frances, chair of the Anti-Bullying Alliance, said: "If we are to succeed in preventing bullying, we need to break the climate of silence in which it thrives by empowering children and young people to speak out and seek help."

Schools minister, Jim Knight said the guidelines form part of a concerted effort to stamp out this growing problem. Information campaigns are highlighting the issue and youngsters can already call helplines.

But as well as the guidelines, the DfES will talk in the coming weeks with major internet service providers (ISPs) and mobile phone operators to explore what more could be done together to tackle cyber-bullying.

Knight said: "No child should suffer the misery of bullying, online or offline. [But] unlike other forms of bullying, cyber-bullying can follow children and young people into their private spaces and outside school hours.

"This is why it is essential that parents and young people themselves should understand how to use technologies safely to protect themselves at home and outside school hours, as well as supporting their schools in dealing with incidents."
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