Last November the NSPCC reported that 38% of young people have been affected by cyber-bullying in the UK and that 11% of Childline calls are related to cyber bullying on Facebook.
It’s an unfortunate reality that in today’s age of social media and widespread internet access, children are being bullied simply by going online in their own home. I have spoken about the increasing problem of cyber bullying before and the need to balance the freedom of the internet with the need to protect the vulnerable.
Some measures are already in place, like
This helps victims by encouraging them to discuss their experiences and show support to others who are being subjected to cyber bullying.
A school in the Harpurhey area of Manchester has also been teaching their Year 7s about how social media works and how lenient privacy settings on social media sites can mean personal information about you can be found easily. Raising awareness of the existence of cyber bullying and how it can be dealt with, as well as how social media websites work seems to be a good way of showing victims of cyber bullying a way out.
If the problem continues to increase, a review of the three laws which collectively deal with cyber bullying, the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, the Malicious Communications Act 1988 and the Communications Act 2003, may need to be made so the Government can discover whether cyber bullying would be better dealt with using specific cyber bullying legislation.
The early years of education are incredibly important to someone’s life as they help build the personal grow and basic skills that a youngster needs to flourish as an adult. Bullying undermines this and can leave a psychological scar for years. I hope that those victimised by bullying are able to get more help and support, whether it be on-line, or in the playground.