Education Eye: Don’t let the bullies ruin your online social life

Catherine Stoker

Catherine Stoker

  • by Catherine Stoker, director of The Independent Education Consultants

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




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