Schools want modules to tackle cyberbullying scourge [Irish Indipendent, by Claire Mc Cormack, 01/09/2014]

A dedicated classroom module on cyberbullying should be introduced to tackle growing concerns at junior and senior levels, according to school principals.

Speaking at today’s National Cyberbullying Conference, school leaders will demand more government funding and training to combat the growing problem.

Clive Byrne, Director of the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), said a timetabled module on cyberbullying and the specific guidelines for concerned parents should be rolled out as part of the academic curriculum.

“Our schools can become pivotal to stamping out cyberbullying, provided both teachers and parents are equipped with the right tools and resources to identify and deal with cyberbullying,” he said.

Referring to their annual survey on cyberbullying, Mr Byrne highlighted an increase in student reports of being both victims and perpetrators.

Cyberbullying ‘at risk of spiralling out of control’ with 33pc rise in one year

The national survey, which also asked participants how schools should respond to the issue, found that 70pc said schools should ban smart phones, more than 60pc want a ban on social media, almost 80pc said students should be advised on internet safety and more than 70pc want school guidelines on cyberbullying.

Mr Byrne also urged school leaders to use their influential role in shaping the lives of young people to foster an environment of tolerance in secondary schools.

“NAPD research has consistently shown that parents want greater help with the problem of cyberbullying and look to schools and teachers to fill the information deficit which exists”, he said, adding the issue has impacted upon morale in schools across Ireland.

“The detrimental consequences of cyberbullying, on the lives of our young people in particular, mean that we can’t ignore the problem or fail to adequately resource it”, he said.

The conference, at Dublin Castle, will be co-hosted by Bully4u and the National Anti-Bullying Centre at Dublin City University.