“Cyber-bullying, or Bullying by social media, is a problem of epidemic proportions affecting mostly young people. It is a very serious challenge for parents, teachers, mental health and youth/community workers. It has fuelled a national and Europe-wide debate on how to best to tackle the issue,” Sean Kelly said today, in announcing the event to be held in Ennis.
“In very real and shocking terms, over 1,700 young Europeans are at risk of death by suicide this year due to bullying and cyber-bullying according to research by a leading charity, Beat Bullying UK. Unfortunately, many tragic deaths of young people have already been linked to cyber-bullying in Ireland already.”
The Fine Gael MEP, and former school teacher, says educating people of all ages on the subject is vital. The Ennis Forum will be the third of its kind hosted by Mr Kelly who also organised a Cyber-Bullying Forum in Cork (January 2013) and Limerick (September 2012).
Mr Kelly is campaigning for the introduction of an EU and national level anti-bullying campaign involving key stakeholders in education, government and commercial and youth sectors in order to eradicate bullying once and for all.
“I am glad to say there is cross-party and multi-stakeholder agreement in Europe that we, as a society, need to do all we can to eradicate bullying. We need to change the behaviour, the attitude and the belief systems that allow bullying to persist in our schools, in our communities and in workplaces in some cases.
“We cannot allow any more young people to be tortured and negatively impacted in this way anymore and we certainly do not want any more lives lost tragically because of it. Schools should be supported in rolling out anti-bullying programmes.
“I am also strongly advocating for the establishment of an EU Anti-Bullying Day to raise awareness of the issue,” Mr Kelly added.