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Calls To Change To Law For Cyber Bullying

Posted by archifCLICarchive from National - Published on 22/11/2010 at 09:29
0 comments » - Tagged as Education, People, Technology, Topical

  • Cyber Plaster

Yn Gymraeg

Following a recent case of suicide there are growing calls to make cyber bullying a criminal offence. The charity BeatBullying has proposed the introduction of a Cyberbullying Act to punish people who abuse others online.

BeatBullying has started to campaign for a change to the law and has so far produced an online petition and organised a march, to argue for a review of current laws, they told the media “We believe that there could be more legislation introduced to support the current system in government, and if a Cyber Bullying Act is essential legislation then the inter-departmental Anti-Bullying Review will flag this up and put the Government in a unique position to influence change."

The Government has responded by issuing a statement from the Department of Education explaining that the Government was committed to tackling the issue, but wished to work within the existing legal framework. Schools Minister Nick Gibb said: "This week we want to send a clear message to every child and young person that if they are bullied in or out of school in any way, to report it to a teacher or adult they trust, and we expect schools to act swiftly.”

Cases of cyber bullying have grown over the years as social networking has taken off and increasing numbers of young people are using sites such as Facebook or Myspace to interact with each other. There has been concern that social networks have been slow to respond to cyber bullying and that measures are needed educate young people as to how to protect themselves online.

The NSPCC describes cyber bullying as “using mobile phones and internet to harass, threaten and embarrass an individual” Examples of these include, “abusive texts, sexting, Facebook, Twitter and Myspace.”

Laura Davies from Meic Cymru, the information, advice and support helpline for children and young people in Wales, recently attended a NSPCC conference on Respectful Relationships and discussed the impact it can have on victims.

“It seems that cyber bullying is becoming a very popular way of bullying amongst young people and in some ways the consequences can be more devastating than those of face to face bullying. Bullying within the school or on the bus can be escaped from when the young person is not in that environment however, cyber bullies can reach their victims in virtually any place and at anytime with the use of digital technology.”

Laura thinks that a practical solution to the wide scale problem has yet to be found hasn’t quite been found, “How can we stop it? This question remains unanswered and is something that professionals working with children and young people need to do more research into.”

Laura had some advice for young people who are unsure of how to protect themselves online “Some ways to try and prevent cyber bullying would be to put PIN numbers or passwords on your mobile phone or computer so that other people can’t hack in, also adjust your privacy settings on sites such as Facebook and Twitter, they have sections on their websites explaining how to do this.”

If you are worried about cyber bullying you can contact the Meic helpline.

They are open between 12 midday and 8pm, 7 days a week and can be contacted by phone, email, SMS text and instant messaging. Meic is confidential, anonymous, free, and just for you.

Meic - information, advice and support for your life.

Phone 080880 23456
SMS txt: 84001
IM/webchat: www.meiccymru.org

IMAGE: Stop Cyber Bullying Day by > ange <

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