Schools do battle with cyber bullies

Email, internet and chat bullying on the rise
Written by Steve Ranger, Global News Director

Email, internet and chat bullying on the rise

New government guidelines have been introduced to crack down on 'cyber bullying' by kids via mobile phones or over the internet.

Cyber bullying can range from abusive text messages, emails and phone calls, to bullying in internet chatrooms or on social networking sites.

According to research from the Anti-Bullying Alliance, one in five pupils have experienced some form of cyber bullying, with girls much more likely to be bullied - especially by text messages and phone calls - than boys. But one in three victims doesn't report it.

Schools minister Jim Knight said that unlike other forms of bullying, cyber bullying can follow children outside of school.

This means parents and kids must understand how to use technologies to protect themselves at home and outside school hours he said.

He said the new guidelines will help every school tackle bullying in cyberspace with the same vigilance as in the playground. The government will also be talking to ISPs and mobile phone operators to find out what more can be done.

The new guidelines recommend:

  • school anti-bullying policies should include strategies to deal with bullying via mobile phone or internet, with rules on the possession and use of mobile phones in school
  • all electronic communications on the school site should be monitored and where necessary restricted
  • parents should make sure their children understand how to use technology safely, including the use of moderated chatrooms and parental control software
  • young people should not respond to abusive emails, text messages or phone calls, but should always tell an adult, and contact their service provider for advice on how to block calls. But they should keep emails and texts as evidence for tracing and possible police action
  • young people should keep to public areas of chatrooms and never give out personal contact details online or post photographs of themselves
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