Live Blog Tackles Cyberbullying [Department of Education & Training, 10/2/2015]

As part of Safer Internet Day, Bully Stoppers expert and clinical psychologist Andrew Fuller answered questions from Victorian school students and parents on an online blog on the Herald Sun’s website.

Over two hours Mr Fuller took questions from dozens of young people and adults about cyberbullying and staying safe online, including tips for parents about how to respond if their child is being cyberbullied.

Some of Mr Fuller’s advice for students included:

Q: If we see online bullying what tips could you give us to help?

A: Generally it is best not to respond. Instead talk to an adult, save and store the content. You could block or delete the bully from your contact list. Use the report abuse button on social network sites and talk about this in class and get ideas about appropriate use of social media as a group. The Bully Stoppers website has heaps of tips.

Q: How can we make our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram profiles safer?

A: Check the privacy settings for all of your social media sites – makes sure people can’t track your location, school and determine who should be able to view your postings. Look at the help centre on

Q: Sometimes when I’m playing a multiplayer game, some people I’m playing with gang up on me and swear at me. How can I not let it affect me? I don’t want to talk to mum, because she might stop me from using the internet.

A: Players say all sorts of things to one another on a multiplayer game that they don’t mean. Try not to take it personally but you find it is affecting you, you might have to either change the game you play or the group you play with. Mr Fuller also had advice for concerned parents.

Q: I’ve tried to tell my children when this kind of thing (cyberbullying) happens to just take a two day break from social media, because it won’t be the end of the world. But they seem to take this like I’m punishing them for them being bullied. Is this the wrong message? What should I tell them to do instead?

A: Generally parents shouldn’t threaten or ban use of technology as it often makes them reluctant to seek help in the future. It is usually better to use this as an opportunity to work through hurt feelings and develop strategies for the future. It’s useful to help children learn not to respond to abusive messages. The number one rule for dealing with cyberbullying is don’t respond, don’t interact and don’t engage.

Q: I suspect my son may be being cyber bullied – because when he comes out of the computer room for dinner he seems quite down and bit depressed. How should i approach this subject with him without making it look like I’m prying into his personal life?

A: This is always tricky to judge. People can appear a bit flat and exhausted after playing computer games for a time. The best first thing to do is to share your observations with him and ask if he is ok. Do this each time he appears flat or depressed. If you don’t feel convinced about the answers you get, you might want to check how he seems at school by asking the school welfare staff.

Q: My eight year old daughter is asking to have an Instagram account because all her friends have one. I think that she is too young. What do I need to put in place to keep her safe from online predators?

A: I agree with you – too young! Many social networking sites have age restrictions. You don’t pick and choose which laws you obey in the real world so you shouldn’t do it online.

The Bully Stoppers website is full of information and advice for students, parents and schools on cyberbullying and cybersafety – including advice from Mr Fuller. The full transcript of Mr Fuller’s live blog will be available on the Bully Stoppers website shortly.

UK: New research into childhood cyberbullying [IDG Connect, by Kathryn Cave, 10/2/2015]

“It’s Crump!”

Before Christmas I took part in an online interactive theatre experience where audience members had to select an individual for interrogation based only their name, date of birth, gender and photo. It was an odd and vaguely disturbing experience because everyone rounded on one individual – “Crump!” – for no apparent reason…. and ripped him to shreds in the online forum. When I contacted the theatre they told me the audience behaved like this in every performance throughout the run.

Now Action For Children has released some similar results about childhood cyberbullying. As the press release states: “One in seven children admit to bullying online”.

In order to get a deeper understanding of what was really happening I contacted the organisation to get a copy of the full findings:

The whole sample is fairly small, only 2,000, and it spans children between eight and 17, with more respondents aged 10, 11 and 12 (40% of the total sample) than other age groups. The findings also suggest that this group is most prone to bullying others with 24% of 12 year-olds surveyed admitting they had done so.

The trouble is you can’t help wondering what children mean by “bullying”, whether this meaning changes with age – and how honest they’re being. “Mum, he’s bullying me!” a child might say laughing about his older brother… while he may well say nothing at all if he’s being spat at in the playground.

This means from the perpetrators an admission of “bullying” could presumably span from anything between a fairly friendly laugh about someone’s expression in a Facebook snap right though to haranguing someone into suicide on some anonymous forum. Maybe an eight year-old would admit to the former while a 17 year-old would not admit the latter?

One of the more interesting findings within the report is that 49% of those surveyed have never spoken to anyone about “something that has concerned you/made you feel uncomfortable online” (28% marked it not applicable).

When questioned further this was because 46% were “not worried enough” to tell anyone, 17% were “worried they’d get into trouble”, 20% were scared of what the “bully would do” and the remaining 23% listed “other reasons” which were unfortunately not recorded.

These responses open up a lot of questions of their own and appear to suggest that while online “bullying” is a relatively widespread problem there is a pretty broad spectrum of its impact. This pretty much matches offline bullying, which is inevitably rife in schools, but mostly does not lead to lasting damage.

Any pack mentality is not usually intended maliciously by the majority. And the biggest reasons for “bullying” others presented in this survey were “to prevent myself being bullied” (43%), “to fit in with a certain social group” (59%, rising to 62% amongst girls) and “peer pressure” (28%), which are all ultimately different sides of the same coin.

Overall, I think this study is a great start but it does show more detailed research is needed on what is really going on online: what form is this “bullying” taking, how frequent is it and how does it differ by age? It is useful that this gets people talking… but I think it presents more questions than it provides answers.

60 per cent of youths admit to cyberbullying others, survey shows [djs research, 10/2/2015]

According to a recent survey by Action for Children, approximately 60 per cent of young people admitted to bullying others online, in order to fit in with the crowd.

The survey questioned 2,000 children aged 8 to 17 and found that 2 in 5 (40 per cent), were actively trying to avoid falling victim to online abuse.

The findings of the survey also highlighted that half of the children who responded admitted to not reporting disturbing content, which they’d come across on the internet.  This may be something they’ve read, or a picture they’ve viewed, which made them feel uncomfortable.

1 in 5 (20%) of children claimed that they had not reported content which made them feel uncomfortable, out of fear that a bully may harm them as a result.

1 in 7 claimed they feared that if they spoke out about inappropriate online behaviour or content, they would get into trouble.

However, some children had chosen to consult an adult about what they had seen in the past.  Of the children who claimed to have spoken out at some point, 65 per cent talked to their parents.

One of Action for Children’s aims is to educate parents about how to protect their children online. The charity suggests that parents should set rules before their children sign up for a social media account, and that they should also ensure that the child’s profile is set to private.  They also suggest that parents should check the age requirements of the site beforehand.

Action for Children also urges parents to have a discussion with their children, about the dangers they should be aware of when they are online.  Children should be warned to not share personal information with anybody, and to not speak to strangers online.

Should anything happen, whilst on the internet, which makes a child feel uncomfortable, Action for Children insists that the child should know that they can approach a parent for help.

Head of Child Protection at Action for Children, Deanna Neilson said of the findings: “Online bullying is so prevalent, but we must not lose sight of the fact that many of these children bully others because of something going wrong in their own lives, or being driven to it through fear of being bullied or socially shunned themselves.  Low self-esteem, stress at school or being victimised themselves by peers or adults, are all reasons a child might act out on others.

“It’s important for parents to ask children about the day they’ve had online, just as they ask about the day they’ve had at school – whether your child is being bullied or bullying others, the problem, and any potentially more severe issues surrounding it, must be addressed.”


Here’s why schools should put sexting on the curriculum [The Telegraph, by Allison Pearson, 11/2/2015]

After Christmas, I was using up some leftovers while the Daughter and her friends sat round the kitchen table having one of their marathon toast-fests and sharing stories of their new lives at uni. Sophie said that, at a party, a guy had walked up to her and said: “Hello, gorgeous, I’ve got a huge —. Fancy a —-?”

The other girls fell about, but the laughter sounded obligatory rather than joyful. “You don’t have to put up with that, Sophie, darling,” I found myself saying. “It’s so disrespectful. I hope you told him where to go?”

“Relax, mum,” said my daughter. She wore that stricken, pleading look which means “Oh, God, she’s not going to go off on one of her ‘Suffragettes didn’t go on hunger strike so you could post a picture of your boobs on Snapchat’ lectures, is she?”

The girls started talking about a mutual friend, only 17. Olivia’s charismatic boyfriend was a nightmare, both aggressive and controlling. Olivia kept trying to break free, but each time X reeled her back in. “I think Liv’s scared of him, but she doesn’t want to be by herself,” said Samira. The girls murmured in sympathy. For them, there was only one thing more horrifying than an abusive relationship: being single.

Later, after they’d gone, I told my daughter I was worried about Sophie. Had she really had sex with that tosser who came up to her at a party? “You just don’t get it, mum,” sighed the Daughter. “Sophie’s not really that kind of girl. It’s just if you don’t have sex, you’re a loser. Everyone does it ’cos boys expect you to. Every girl I know’s had some bad experience where it’s got kind of abusive.”

“Even you?’ I said.

“Even me,” she said.

If I was shocked to hear that conversation between lovely, bright young women, I shouldn’t have been. A new study into adolescent relationships has found that hundreds of thousands of teenage girls, some as young as 13, have been coerced into sex or sexual activity by a boyfriend. England came out far worse than other European countries, with two in five girls aged between 13 and 17 suffering sexual coercion of some sort, including rape.

’Twas ever thus, some will shrug. Boy tries to get into Girl’s knickers is as old as heavy petting in the Garden of Eden. The difference now, as pointed out by the University of Bristol’s School for Policy Studies, is the scale of coercion and the number of teenage girls sending and receiving sexual images and texts.

Almost half of 13- to 17-year-olds have “sexted”. Researchers were surprised to discover that many girls said exchanging of explicit images with boys was a “highly positive experience”, adding to the fun of flirting. However, almost all the girls said that the experience turned negative if the boy shared the image with friends, making them feel humiliated.

It made me think of two shamefaced teenage girls I saw on TV the other night. They confessed that they became different characters on social media. You could be a bully, you could be lewd and crude, you could be whoever you wanted to be.

“In space, no one can hear you scream” goes the great line from Alien. Kids seem to believe the same applies to social media. They are seriously mistaken. Teenage courtship rituals, essentially unchanged for decades, have been discarded as our children are handed explosive new toys, which even fully-grown Members of Parliament are too immature to handle.

Boys are literally getting the message that girls are permanently up for it when the truth is girls may just feel under huge social pressure to display their wares without necessarily being ready to hand over the goods. And all this happens without any meaningful human contact.

What a pity the Bristol study didn’t include the experience of boys. “You’d be amazed what girls will do, mum,” my 15-year-old son said to me recently. I feel so sorry for him and his generation. Social media is a lawless Wild West without a sheriff. There is no map to help hormonal youngsters navigate a safe path. If boys end up with a warped view of female sexuality, it’s hardly surprising: if all girls feel obliged to flash their tits to attract a mate, it’s not the sexual freedom their grandmothers wished for. It’s just a more open prison.

Such is the confusion out there they have actually invented something called a “consensual-sex app”, which kids can use to ask their partner’s permission to have sex. Good2Go “allows the sex-initiator to forego outdated modes of courting, like foreplay, or talking to your partner”. Instead, they can hand you their phone and get you to answer a series of questions, including whether you are “Sober”, “Mildly Intoxicated but Good2Go” or “Pretty Wasted”. If you’re Pretty Wasted, the phone will instruct you not to have sex.

Who says romance is dead, St Valentine? Imagine what the Bard would have made of this new intimacy: “Let us not to the marriage of two true sex initiators admit impediment. Love is not love which makes a move when Sex Initiator 1 is pretty wasted.”

Schools should urgently put a new subject on the curriculum: Sex, Self-Respect and Social Media. Young people need to be taught that the same standards apply to your character in the real and the online world.

Finally, to girls and boys aged 13 to 17, a word of advice from your Auntie Allison. Before you press Send, ask yourself one small question: “Would I like my mum and dad to see this photo of me?”

No sexts please, we’re British.

Police warn Welsh pupils over ‘sexting’ [BBC News Wales, 10/2/2015]

The NSPCC is trying to spread the safety message to parents and children

Police are visiting every school in Wales to warn pupils of the dangers of “sexting”.

As well as cutting down on cyberbullying, there are fears young people do not know they could be breaking the law by sending sexual images.

It comes as Safer Internet Day is highlighting online safety.

A new survey found 30% of 11-16-year-olds experienced unkind online behaviour in the last year.

And 75% of youngsters blocked someone.

The ResearchBods study also looked at how much time young people were spending online, with 55% saying they interacted with their closest friends several times an hour.

Police have started warning teenagers of the legal aspects of what they text – and aim to have visited all schools by the end of the year with the “Think Before You Click” message.

PC Richard Norris has been bringing the message to this school in Swansea

One of those going into schools is PC Richard Norris, of South Wales Police.

He said sharing explicit material can be an offence in itself, even if you are not the originator.

“One click can have a massive impact,” he said.

“The knock on effect it has with jobs, career, the embarrassment or even to the extent of someone hurting themselves over it. We want to reduce and stop this.”

The NSPCC has a Share Aware campaign aimed at parents of eight to 12 year olds.

The children’s charity says its own survey in 2013 found 40% of teenagers had created a sexual image or video.

Meanwhile, pupils, teachers and parents are meeting politicians at the Senedd to push for online safety to be taught in schools.

The Welsh government has also organised e-safety awareness raising activities in schools across Wales

First Minister Carwyn Jones said: “While we actively encourage young people to embrace the internet’s huge potential, it’s vitally important they are equipped with the skills and knowledge needed to do it safely and responsibly.”

Prof Shaheen Shariff says children involved in sexting are getting ‘younger and younger’

Author of Sexting and Cyberbullying – Defining the Line for Digitally Empowered Kids

“The research we did recently, which is in my book, found that kids aged 9-12 and then 13-17 don’t quite understand where they cross the line from jokes and flirty fun when sexting or distributing intimate images to where they are actually breaking the law.

“It’s everybody’s responsibility. If it involves classmates there’s an obligation to the school but it’s important that parents are involved.

“We need to start looking at the bigger picture and to look at rape culture, to look more deeply at the roots of cyber bullying and sexting.

“Research has always focused on children’s behaviour online but we need to look at the systemic forms of misogyny, homophobia and discrimination – these are the forms that sexting and cyberbullying are rooted in and adults are the worst models of this.

“Until we address what adults are doing we really can’t blame the kids for copying us.”

Sexting ‘starting younger’ warns Prof Shaheen Shariff [BBC News Wales, 10/2/2015]

Sexting is the new form of “flirty fun” and children are starting younger and younger, warns a leading researcher in the field.

It comes as events are being held across Wales to promote Safer Internet Day.

Prof Shaheen Shariff, of McGill University in Montreal, is author of Sexting and Cyberbullying – Defining the Line for Digitally Empowered Kids.

She said at least 60% of nine to 12-year-olds she had spoken to had been involved in sexting.

Prof Shariff says it can have wider consequences for adolescents, while girls who send an intimate images to boyfriends, who then distribute them, are the ones more likely to be blamed.

Online bullying: We Must also Consider Children who Bully Others [HUFFPOST TECH, by Deanna Neilson, 10/2/2015]

Online bullying among children is rife and while the potentially life-long impact on those targeted by bullies must be addressed, we cannot ignore the needs of young perpetrators either.

Action for Children recently polled 2,000 eight to 17 year olds about their internet activity and a startling one in seven told us they had bullied others online. It’s shocking that this harassment is so prevalent, but equally concerning is the fear expressed by those who said they act out on others. Nearly 60 per cent of children responded that they bullied others to fit in with a certain social group, while 40 per cent said they did so to prevent being targeted themselves.

These reasons don’t account for other issues that may also be present in children’s lives – such as low self-esteem, stress at school or being victimised themselves by peers or adults – which can contribute to a child lashing out at peers.

The best source of help for children in these situations is usually their parents. Whether your child is being bullied or bullying others, it’s important to know what’s going on in their lives you so can help address the issue and any potentially larger problems behind it.

Young people increasingly socialise on digital platforms, so parents should ask about their time online just as they ask about their day at school. Keeping a comfortable, open dialogue about their activity – not just diving in when you’re concerned about something – will not only keep you in touch with this part of their lives, but also encourage them to come to you if they’re ever concerned about issues such as bullying or strangers contacting them. Action for Children’s survey revealed that nearly 50 per cent of children did not tell anyone when they read or saw something online that made them feel uncomfortable, with one in seven saying they worried they would get in trouble if they did. This finding shows that assuring young people they can come to you is key.

Action for Children works with 300,000 children, young people, parents and carers each year and concerns about young people online come up time and time again. Many parents aren’t confident about talking to their children about their worries, sometimes because it could raise awkward conversations, sometimes because they simply don’t know very much about the platforms that young people use.

To keep children safe, adults must educate themselves about the online worlds that young people inhabit. A good way of doing this – and to open that comfortable, open dialogue – is to ask you children about it. Let them teach you about their activities and how they interact with peers. They are, after all, the experts.

Parents also need to ensure they help children keep themselves safe. Here are some tips our frontline workers share with parents:

• Discuss and agree parameters before your child joins a social networking site. Check the minimum age requirements.

• Consider whether a trusted adult should be added as a ‘friend’ and ensure your child has a ‘private’ profile.

• Talk about the potential dangers of sharing personal data.

• Remind your child that the same rules about bullying and stranger danger apply online as they do in public places and at school.

• Ensure your child knows how to report and block people online.

• Tell them they can talk to you about anything that upsets or worries them online – you’re on their side.

There’s no way to stay on top of all your child’s activity online – access at school and friends’ houses, as well as tablets and smartphones mean they are often unpoliced in the digital world. But with just a little communication, and letting children show you their expertise, parents can help children keep themselves safe online. Who knows? It might be a lot of fun.

Decoding teen sexting: what do the abbreviations mean? [Local12, by Sheila Gray, 10/2/2015]

Sexting or texting? Do you know what your children are typing when they’re hunched over their phones?

The lingo they use might not make sense to many parents, but Local 12’s Sheila Gray has some tips on how to decode what’s become almost like a secret language.

BRB (be right back) and LOL (laugh out loud) are innocent enough, but have you heard of KPC (keeping parents clueless)?

Some texts aren’t for kids, yet guess who’s sending them?

Debbie and 13-year-old Gabby Shaw are your average mom and daughter duo, and no surprise, this 8th grader loves to text.

“[How many texts] a day? I’d say about 50,” said Gabby. “I am concerned of what she may receive,” said Debbie.

We showed gabby some PG-13 acronyms, and the fact that gabby had never seen some of these is a good thing.

Head of Child Psychology at Dayton Children’s Dr. Gregory Ramey has seen it all but he says that “As a parent and a professional, I wouldn’t know what these [texts] mean.”  

We’ll keep it PG-13 and decode some of the acronyms we can actually say.

IWS means “I want sex.”

GNOC means “get naked on cam.”

GYPO  means “get your pants off.”

Also, mom and dad, kids are talking about you too…

PIR means “parent in room.”

POS means “parent over shoulder.”

H4Y means “hot for you.”

TDTM means “talk dirty to me”

Words aren’t the only tools at your disposal either.

Emojis can be strung together to depict some pretty R-rated stuff.

They’ll become one of the 40% that will have sexual intercourse during their high school years. That’s what sexting is.  

Dr. Ramey says one-third of kids sext. Be proactive and make sure your kids aren’t among them.

If you want to decrease the likelihood of your child sexting, begin at an early age to have a very open conversation with your children around junior high, that’s the best thing you could do.  

“We have a trust factor, an open relationship where we’re communicating about it,” said Debbie. “I do go through the phone periodically but it has been pretty innocent so far.”

Experts say it’s wise to check up on your teens but advise parents not to do it behind their backs.

Internet safety – The apps parents need to know about [Irish Examiner, by Helen O’Callaghan, 07/2/2015]

Protecting children online is now more difficult than ever due to the rise in popularity of photo-sharing apps, writes Helen O’Callaghan.

“It’s one of the best ways of getting them thinking about the issue,” says Simon Grehan of Webwise, the Internet safety initiative of the Professional Development Service for Teachers (PDST), which promotes Safer Internet Day in Ireland.

For parents, protecting their kids online is more challenging than ever. Just as they thought they’d got on top of Facebook, young people are moving towards photo-sharing apps like Instagram and Snapchat.

“Many parents aren’t as aware of these,” says Grehan.

We’re long past the days when keeping the computer in the kitchen meant you could monitor your child’s online activity.

Young people are accessing the Internet much more through mobile phones and tablets than they did two years ago.

This finding emerged through interviews with 1,000 students aged nine to 16 and one of their parents conducted by Dr Brian O’Neill of DIT.

The research is just about to be published. And while online activity is still mostly done at home, the fact their devices are personal means they’re free from parental supervision and mediation, points out Grehan.

So what’s the attraction of photo-sharing apps?

“Smart phones don’t have a keyboard — it’s difficult for kids to type and they don’t have as high literacy skills to communicate through language. They use images to communicate — instead of ‘I’m at the cinema with my friends’, they take a picture to show it,” says Grehan.

Apps like Instagram and Snapchat also provide more tools to be creative.

“With Instagram, they can edit photos — add filter effects to make it look like the photo was taken in the 1920s. With Snapchat, they can draw over the photo and paint little messages.”

On the surface, Snapchat looks like it has advantages. “It’s more private — you send pictures to a specific person as opposed to a public you’ve never seen.

“The unique thing is the photo disappears five seconds after it’s opened — eliminating the concern that your employer might see it in 10 years time.

“But you actually can’t be sure it’s gone, never to be seen again, because it’s easy to get a screen grab of it. A lot of kids would know how to do this,” says Grehan.

These new apps pose the usual cyber-bullying risks — possibility of sharing embarrassing or compromising photos and of posting nasty comments about someone’s pictures.

Grehan advises parents to communicate regularly with children about their online activity.

“Have them show you how they’re using apps and sites. Explain your concerns and listen to theirs. It’s very easy to use technology. It requires life experience to decide what’s appropriate to share and what isn’t.”

Laura Cullen, 17, is in fifth year at St Clare’s Comprehensive, Manorhamilton.

“The app I most use is Instagram, otherwise YouTube and art-sharing websites. I used to be on Facebook but there’s limited privacy.

“I don’t like the way social networking sites perpetuate the idea that you need to have a say on whatever you like and that there’s no consequence to what you say online.

“I’m very much in favour of technology. Websites don’t bully people —other people do. I’m involved in the Webwise youth panel.

“It’s mostly around raising awareness through competitions and sending posters to schools.

“It’s difficult to say how many hours a day I spend online. I feel it’s a very continuous thing — even though you have your phone down or in your pocket, it’s continuously picking up information online.”

Oisín Bowyer, 14, is in third year at Carndonagh Community School. “Here in Donegal we’ve had two suicides related to cyber-bullying.

“It’s important to do something. I’m an ambassador for Safer Internet Day. I spend two hours max a day online — below the average.

“I like Facebook — I think it’s more mature. Some young people are very naïve. The internet is a very open space.

“Everything you say can come back to haunt you. It’s important to think before you post that picture or hit that send button.”

A transition-year student at Deele College, Raphoe, Co Donegal Sean Murphy is 16. “I use Facebook a lot and Snapchat. I like that I can talk to my brothers in Australia or someone down the road in an instant.

AS we gear up for Safer Internet Day on Tuesday, 15,000 students in 100 schools across Ireland are running awareness-raising events around cyber-bullying.

“I’m not particularly a fan of the selfie — I don’t have the chiselled face other guys would envy!

“I use an alias to get around [future] employers seeing stuff about me. I’m definitely aware around cyber-bullying — I’d be pretty abrupt about stopping talking to people who’d consider taking an aggressive or mocking manner with me.

“I’m on the Webwise panel — I’ve always been an activist around keeping others safe and getting involved in school mentoring programmes.”

On Monday, Webwise will launch ‘MySelfie – Primary Anti-Cyber Bullying’, a curriculum resource targeted at fifth and sixth class primary students.

“It’s a series of short animations that provide starting points for classroom discussions around emotions driving bullying, emotional impact on victims and how children can be agents for positive change in relation to bullying.

Be safe online

* Be the one to introduce your child to the Internet. Together, find exciting, fun websites — makes it easier to share both positive and negative experiences in future.

* Agree with child rules for internet use in your home. Discuss when and for how long; how to treat personal info (name, address, telephone, email); how to behave towards others when online; what type of sites/activities are OK/not OK in your family.

* Teach social networking teens how to use privacy or security settings of a site. All responsible sites have a safety centre and a block and reporting system.

* Talk about risks of meeting online ‘friends’ in person. Children shouldn’t meet strangers they’ve met online without parental approval and without accompaniment by adult, friends or others they trust.

* Teach child about evaluating and being critically aware of online information. Not all is correct, accurate or relevant.

* Avoid being over-critical of your child’s internet exploration. If they come across adult material, open discussion about the content and make rules for this kind of activity.

* Encourage respect for others — being polite, using correct language, not yelling (writing in capital letters) or harassing others.

* Let your child show you what he likes to do online.

* Positive aspects of the internet outweigh the negatives — there are millions of age-appropriate sites for younger children. Encourage child to use these.

Teens urged to ‘think twice’ before posting online [Independent, by Nicola Anderson, 10/2/2015]

Teenagers working on a cyber-bullying project have told how ‘nearly everybody they know’ has been subject to online abuse of some description.

A new report reveals that young people are experiencing greater bullying on social media platforms and are encountering more harmful images and content because they are spending increasing amounts of time online on their smartphones and tablets.

One-in-five children in Ireland say they have been bothered by something online in the past year – double the figure reported in a survey in 2011.

The new Net Children Go Mobile report, launched to mark Safer Internet Day finds that Instagram is the most popular media-sharing platform, with some 42pc of 9-16 year olds using it to share their photos.

Brian O’Neill, Director of Research, Enterprise and Innovation Services at Dublin Institute of Technology, who compiled the report along with Thuy Dinh of DIT, said that young people are doing more of everything online.

“Because internet use is now a much more private experience with less direct parental supervision, parents more than ever need to communicate with their children about their online experiences,” he said. Speaking at the launch at Dublin Castle, Damien English, TD urged young people to “think twice” before they acted on an urge to post something online that might be hurtful.

“Just hold back – think of the impact it might have on somebody’s life,” he said.

Teens from the Dublin City Comhairle na nÓg youth council told the Irish Independent that almost every young person they know has been subjected to some form of online bullying.

Irish Independent