Campaign launched to tackle the cyber bullies
New leaflet contains advice for parents
The Belfast Telegraph is today carrying full copies of a leaflet packed with advice for parents on how to tackle cyber bullying.
While there are no statistics specific to the extent of cyber bullying in Northern Ireland, it is widely acknowledged that instances of bullying using mobile phones and the internet are on the increase right across the UK.
The Belfast Telegraph has launched an anti-bullying campaign to coincide with Anti-Bullying Week which runs until tomorrow.
The week long series of events, co-ordinated in the province by the Northern Ireland Anti-Bullying Forum (NIABF), has asked schools and pupils to examine areas of bullying such as cyber bullying and bullying as a result of race or sexuality.
Editor of the Belfast Telegraph, Martin Lindsay, said he was delighted that the newspaper is supporting efforts by NIABF to reduce instances of cyber bullying among young people throughout Northern Ireland.
"Bullying is a problem right throughout society, in the workplace, in schools and now on the internet and with mobile phones," he said.
"It can have such a terrible impact on the life of its victims and we at the newspaper are happy to do anything we can to help raise awareness of this issue and also educate parents, teachers and children."
Explaining why the leaflet was created, Lesley-Anne Newton, regional anti-bullying co-ordinator with NIABF, said the organisation carried out a small survey on the subject with parents in the province in which 75% of respondents confirmed their children had access to the internet at home and had their own mobile phone.
The survey also found that just under 90% of parents said they did not know what to do if their child told them they were experiencing cyber bullying.
"NIABF's cyber bullying task group decided to produce a leaflet for parents to try and give them some advice about what to do," she explained.
"It is important to highlight to children their relationship and responsibilities in using technology safely and the leaflet also tells parents what to do it their children experience bullying.
"We could say there is no research produced in Northern Ireland to highlight the problem but we need to acknowledge that this is an issue and try to tackle it before it becomes a major bullying concern."
For further information on the work carried out by NIABF, log onto www.savethechildren.org.uk/niabf or telephone 028 9043 1123.