25/02/2014

Fianna Fáil Call For Urgent Action On Cyber-Bullying

The government urgently needs to address cyber-bullying in light of "shocking new statistics", Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy has said.

A new report from the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals recorded a 33% increase in the number of students being targeted by online hate, compared to the same survey last year, a rise described as "dramatic" by Deputy Troy.

The children's spokesman said the report "highlights the urgent need for more training and supports for parents.

"This research shows only one in four parents monitor their kids activity online every day, while 15% never check. I think we need to ensure that parents are more aware of the negative impact cyber-bullying has and understand ways to keep an eye on what children are being exposed to."

Fianna Fáil produced a draft Bill at the end of 2013 calling for it to be an offence to engage in, assist or encourage it cyber-bullying.

"Under the draft law, cyber-bullying is carried out by text, picture or video-clip, phone calls, emails, on social media, in chat rooms and through instant messaging." Deputy Troy said.

Adding: "Our Bill makes provision for parents to attend mandatory parenting courses and only provides for criminal prosecution when a parent continuously and knowingly permits cyber-bullying by their child.

"Tackling cyber-bullying will require more education, more support and more resources for teachers, for parents and for students. We have seen terrible cases of cyber-bullying that have even resulted in suicide. In light of the sharp increase of bullying cases we see reported in the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals’ research I would ask the government to look seriously at supporting our legislation. It is essential that this is treated with the level of seriousness required and that where extra resources are needed that they are made available."

(MH/CD)

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