Since it’s the festival season, I visited The Education Festival last weekend.
One of the many excellent seminars I attended was run by the leaders of the Anti-Bullying Ambassadors programme in conjunction with Facebook.
Their peer mentoring programme coaches young people to identify and address bullying issues in their school – www.antibullyingpro.com.
Although quite a recent initiative, it’s already in over 600 schools as part of the Diana Award, which encourages and empowers young people to engage in social action www.diana-award.org.uk
It was mind boggling to hear that a third of 3 to 4 year olds are now online via a PC and 5 to 15 year olds’ use of tablets has tripled since 2012 (Ofcom). With this in mind, I thought it might be useful to share their excellent tips on supporting your child if they tell you they are being bullied online.
• Praise and thank them for telling you. Reassure them and keep calm.
• Ask how long it has been going on and if they are happy to show you.
• Ask how it made them feel and discuss how they would like to resolve. Their buy-in to the suggested solution is important.
• Screen shot the evidence. You may need your child to show you how to do this as all devices are different.
• Block the person who sent the comments.
• Explain the importance of not retaliating, no matter how much you feel inside that would like to go and ring the person’s neck.
• Change the password. They gave an excellent analogy-treat your password like your tooth-brush. Change it regularly and don’t share it with anyone.
• Check who their information is shared with, if necessary changing the privacy settings.
• Make the school aware of the issues, if your child is happy to do so and agree a plan as to how the problem will be addressed and the timescales.
• If the comments are threatening, inform the police.
Other sites recommended as a resource of information about preventing online bullying were www.facebook.com/safety/bullying or UK Safer Internet Centre http://www.saferinternet.org.uk