When talking to children in school’s eSafety has found that most of them are scared that there will be negative consequences at home. For instance that they will no longer be allowed use the internet, or have to cancel their account on a social networking site.

It is so important to address this issue with your children. Talk to your children about cyber bullying and how they can deal with it. It is important for your children to be able to come home and talk to you and not silently suffer on. Below is some information that might help inform you about cyberbullying and also what to do if it happens to your children. You can also check out eSafety’s Online Code of Conduct Contract. A lot of parents we have worked with in the past found it useful when working through these topics with their children.

Hiding behind the glass and electronics of their computer or mobile phone, so many children now perceive themselves to be anonymous and untouchable – connected yes, but strangely disconnected from the consequences of inappropriate actions and so often feeling little empathy with the victim.

of children do not tell their parents about cyberbullying or related incidences.”

What is Cyberbullying?

“Cyberbullying involves the use of information and communication technologies to support deliberate, repeated, and hostile behaviour by an individual or group, that is intended to harm others.”

The key words here are, ‘deliberate’ and ‘repeated’. It is not a text message that has been sent to the wrong person. It is an intentional act and it happens more than once.

1/4 of all Irish children experience significant bullying. Only 4% of this is online (cyberbullying) according to the 2011 EU Online Kids survey (however, from eSafety’s experience in schools we believe this statistic is higher). In the cases of where children have been sent mean or hurtful messages, 68% of parents were unaware of the situation.

What should you do if you are experiencing Cyberbullying?

The number one rule to remember if someone is being nasty to you in this way is DON’T RESPOND AND DON’T REPLY. If you send a mean message back, you will more than likely spark something larger.

The second rule is to SAVE ALL NASTY MESSAGES AND EMAILS. Because there is a digital trace of the evidence it is so important to save a copy to show to a school or parents of the bully.

However, it may be your child’s first (and understandable) reaction to delete this, so it is important to chat through the steps with them on how to save the information.

The third rule is to TELL A TRUSTED ADULT. If you tell someone about what’s been happening, they will be able to help you.

It is important to sit down and talk this through with your child, making them aware that if they are experiencing cyberbullying, they need to tell someone.

We have worked in a range of both Primary and Post Primary schools. To see more about our primary school work click here, to see more about eSafety’s work in Post-primary schools, click here.


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