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

Catherine Stoker
Catherine Stoker

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 –

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

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 or UK Safer Internet Centre