IRISH parents are becoming more social-media savvy to protect their children but schools need extra funding and training to tackle cyber-bullying, principals have said.
A national conference on cyber-bullying at Dublin City University yesterday heard a call for extra resources to combat the problem in schools across Ireland.
The event, co-organised by the university’s Anti-Bullying Centre and the support group Bully4U, was attended by teachers’ representatives, health professionals as well as contributors from Face-book, Twitter and Ask.fm.
Clive Byrne of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) said a classroom module on the issues involved should be introduced in schools to equip children with the tools to deal with cyber-bullying.
He also suggested the Department of Education should inject extra cash into providing training for parents.
Bully4U founder Jim Harding said parents are becoming increasingly confident dealing with modern technologies.
However, a recent NAPD survey found that cases of cyber-bullying had soared by a third in the past year, while 14 per cent of students taking part in a Republic-wide study confirmed that they had been targeted.
Last year the south’s special rapporteur on child protection, Dr Geoffrey Shannon, warned that social media had provided a new “forum” for bullies and called for new legislation to stamp out the problem.
His comments came after the suicides in 2012 of a number of young girls who had been victims of cyber bullying, including 13-year-old Erin Gallagher from Ballybofey in Co Donegal and her sister Shannon, aged 15.
* ‘CLASSROOM MODULE’: Clive Byrne
* DIED BY SUICIDE AFTER BEING CYBER-BULLIED: Erin Gallagher