Irish teens obsessed with validation online, new survey finds. [ Belfast Telegraph, 27/8/2015 ].

In a sign of social media’s growing influence on kids’ self-esteem, almost half of teenagers here “always or sometimes” feel disappointed if they don’t get a response quickly after they have posted.

The survey, by social media site, asked 206 Irish teenagers and their parents about their attitudes to social life online, privacy and cyber-bullying.

It found that Irish teenagers are almost twice as fearful of being laughed at for talking about a problem on social media as their teenage counterparts in the US. The most common embarrassments identified were romantic “crushes” and problems at home.

The survey also has some interesting findings about teens’ attitude to online anonymity. 46pc of Irish teens say that being anonymous online “allows them to share new ideas without the worry of being made fun of”, according to the survey. And 41pc of teenagers who have been bullied online say they are “more likely to talk about difficult topics online if they were anonymous”.

Only 5pc of Irish teenagers would talk about “difficult topics” on their public profile, compared to 50pc if anonymous, according to the survey.

Both teens and their parents say that bullying is more common in the “real world” than online, it claims. 43pc of parents have been told by their teenaged child that they have been bullied in the physical world compared to only 13pc who have been told about cyberbullying.

Seven out of ten teens told the survey that they would “step in” if they observed bullying happening online.

For parents, the main concern was apparently not about abuse or what their children might see or do while using social media services, but rather the amount of time they spend online (61pc) that could be spent on other activities such as homework.

But Irish parents are more cautious than British ones when it comes to monitoring their teenage childrens’ activity online.

Four out of five (80pc) of Irish parents say that they monitor their kids’ online activity, compared to just 55pc in the UK. And over a third of parents here (38pc) know their teenage child’s passwords and log into their accounts.

However, a third of Irish parents say that they don’t know how Snapchat, Instagram and Twitter works. These are three of the most popular social media services used by teens in Ireland.

It found that only a quarter of Irish teens feel the need to hide their social media activity from parents with three quarters claiming that they “rarely, or never”  say something they will later regret online., which commissioned the survey, has faced sharp criticism in recent years over cyberbullying episodes on its social media service, which is largely used by teenagers. The company has recently changed its procedures, requiring mandatory registering for those who wish to remain anonymous.

65 children under 18 investigated for ‘sexting activities’ over the last two years – the youngest was just EIGHT. [ Wales Online, by Philip Dewey, 29/8/2015 ].

Children as young as eight have been investigated by South Wales Police for taking part in so-called sexting – including sending indecent photos.

A total of 65 children under the age of 18 have been investigated by the force over the last two years, with 40 girls and 25 boys involved.

Read more: Why explaining it all to teens is so important

The figures were released under the Freedom of Information Act in respect of those under 18 who had been investigated under the offence of taking an indecent photograph of a child.

Sexting’ means sending a sexually explicit photograph or message using a mobile phone through text messaging services or social sites such as Facebook.

‘Sending these images could land them a criminal record’

Des Mannion, NSPCC Cymru’s head of service, said: “It’s a criminal offence to share an indecent image of someone under 18 even if the person sharing it is a young person themselves.

“They need to be aware that sending images like this could land them with a criminal record.

“These statistics are only the tip of the iceberg because police won’t know about every incidence. We know that sexting is increasingly a feature of adolescent relationships and children do take risks online, sometimes without realising it.”

PICTURE POSED BY MODEL: child on facebook

Children aged 14 most frequently investigated

The age ranges of the children investigated were between eight and 17 years old but 14-year-olds were the most investigated, with 14 instances.

These children would have been in Year Nine or 10 at school.

The majority of those investigated were “advised accordingly,” according to police. Others were referred to social services, made to complete restorative justice, or were the subject of a youth restorative disposal. Three received a youth caution.

RELATED: One in 10 children are addicted to porn or have made a sexually explicit video

No child was added to the sex offenders’ register.

The biggest medium used to send indecent photographs was texting but other websites and apps were used such as Facebook, App Me, Kik, Hot or Not, and Video Camfrog.

A teenage girl using a mobile phone

Police lessons

A South Wales Police spokesman said: “We work closely with schools on the issues of ‘sexting’ with lessons being delivered on this subject since 2014.

“The sessions have been well received and explain the definition of consent and the possible criminal record consequences of sexting.

Read more: Number of children being cyber-bullied doubled in a year

“An important outcome of the work with schools has been the increase in the number of children who have sought advice from their teachers on the subject.

“Where offences are identified South Wales Police seeks to deal in a proportional manner and a range of outcomes are utilised to ensure children are not unnecessarily drawn into the criminal justice system.”

Help is available

Mr Mannion said advice to young people, as well as their parents and carers, was available such as ChildLine’s free ZipIt app.

He said: “It includes witty images and replies they can use when asked for an inappropriate picture to keep in control of the situation.

“Parents and carers concerned about their child’s activity online can also download our free Share Aware guide which contains advice to help keep children safe online, in apps, and on social media.”

Zoe Hilton, of the National Crime Agency’s Ceop Command, said they had been getting reports of harmful situations because of sexting.

Normal for teens – alarming for parents

She said: “With smartphones and tablets, and new apps emerging all the time, this behaviour is becoming quite normal for teenagers.

“But it can be alarming for mum and dad who might not know how to help when things go wrong.

“Information and advice on staying safe can be found at – our education programme designed to help protect children and young people from sexual abuse and exploitation.”

Contact ChildLine on 0800 1111 or visit for free confidential advice and support.

Bully That: Tips for Kids and Parents for Dealing With Bullies. [ Huffington Post, by Jamie Davis Smith, 20/7/2015 ]

Bullying can start very early and can even be seen among kids who are still in pre-k.

According to Dr. Craig Bach, VP of Education for The Goddard School, bullying can have long-term consequences but the earlier children learn to respond to it the less likely it is to have long-term consequences.

Here are some tips from Dr. Bach about what children and parents can do to addressing bullying:

Encourage children to take bullying seriously and work to make it stop when they see it occurring. Tell children not to ignore it because it usually won’t just go away. With your child, use creative intellect to find ways to make it stop. Think of it as a problem-solving opportunity.

Don’t wait until a bullying incident happens to talk to about bullying with your child. Get used to discussing it so it is not so strange when it does occur. Let your child know it’s okay to talk to friends and parents, teachers, and other adults about anything that concerns them.

Let children know they can talk to the bully if they feel comfortable. The can look the bully in the eye and tell them to stop.

If talking to a bully doesn’t work, walk away from the bully. Don’t run, act scared or angry — things that often encourage a bully — just walk away calm and steady.

It is helpful to hang out with other people and avoid kids who bully others. Children should make sure to have friends or a trusted adult around if they think they might get bullied.

Children should talk to an adult they trust and not let bullying happen without other people knowing about it. This can be parent, relative, teacher, school counselor, or friend.

Learn to recognize the different kinds of bullying and call it for what it is. Whether it is physical (getting beat up) or emotional (regularly being left out of a group or teased in a mean way), it is bullying.

Don’t remain silent when other children are being bullied.

There is no magic formula that will work in every situation. There are times when you will need to defend yourself. When those times happen, be calm and thoughtful.

The effects of bullying will stay with children for a long time. Showing confidence and courage in the face of bullying discourages bullying, minimizes its impact. Encourage your child to respond to bullying in ways that will help him walk away feeling as courageous, smart and as good about himself as he can.

Tell children that bullying happens to almost everyone so they don’t feel so alone.

There are several steps parents can take to help their children be prepared if they are bullied or cope with being bullied.

Role-play with children.

Don’t wait until a bullying incident happens to talk to children about it. Start early and talk regularly.

Talk to school officials and make sure the school has an effective plan to prevent and respond to bullying behavior.

Talk to children about bullying and ways to respond. Also, talk to them about avoiding becoming bullies or how they would respond if they saw another child being bullied.

Recognize your child’s emotional responses to bullying. It is normal to be scared and upset after being bullied. Talk to them about it.

Learn to recognize the signs of bullying and keep an open line of communication with your child. However, no matter the relationship you have with your children, there may be times when they are too embarrassed, upset or scared to tell you about it. Demystify bullying by talking about it openly and often.

Talk about your own experiences with bullying, how it made you feel, and how you responded. If you wish you had responded in different ways or had discussed it with friends, teachers, or family members let them know.