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 Ask.fm, 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.

Ask.fm, 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.

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 facebook.com.

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.”

 

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.

Cyber bullying finds new platform[The Daily News, by David Vitrano, 04/2/2015]

Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal cautions parents about a new social media tool that has emerged in Washington Parish and is being used as a mechanism for bullying.

Yik Yak was launched in 2013 and works by combining the technologies of GPS and instant messages. Very simply, it is an anonymous bulletin board on which users can post comments to be read by anyone within a limited geographical area.

On its website, Yik Yak describes itself as “…an anonymous messaging app that allows users to create and view posts — called Yaks — within a 10-mile radius. Users can also expand the conversation by posting replies to existing Yaks.”

The misuse of Yik Yak to bully two students has already been reported in Washington Parish. The Sheriff’s Office has been notified and the WPSO Cyber Crimes Investigator is handling the complaints.

In early December, two University of Central Oklahoma students were arrested for posting Yik Yak threats to shoot up the university. Students from Drake University in Iowa were arrested in September for similar threats. Other incidents have occurred at the University of Southern Mississippi, Penn State University, the University of Georgia and other schools, which resulted in the arrests of students making the threats. In January, a 16-year old high school student in Oxford, Ala., was arrested and charged with making a terroristic threat on Yik Yak.

“Since I took office, we have developed a mechanism for investigating crimes involving all social media, including the Internet,” Washington Parish Sheriff Randy Seal said. “Our Cyber Crimes Investigator has been certified in Mobile Forensics, Computer Forensics and Cyber Investigations. He provides a valuable service to parents, local schools and law enforcement throughout the parish.”

Seal said parents should know what their children are doing on computers.

“I strongly encourage parents to closely monitor their children’s use of all social media,” Seal added. “While social media itself is not bad, the misuse of social media as a tool to threaten, bully or disseminate false information can be a criminal act. We will aggressively go after anyone making social media threats to any individual, group, school or school function.”

Seal said any parent, teacher or other person who knows of cyber bullying or threats on any form of social media is asked to report the matter to the Sheriff’s Office at 985-839-3434.

Study: Bullying victims nine times more likely to suffer from depression[ The Copenhagen Post, by Philip Tees, 30/1/2015]

Results of Danish study not surprising for experts

According to new Danish research published in the scientific periodical Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, the risk of suffering from depression is increased by a factor of nine among those who are the victims of bullying.

Maria Gullander, a PhD in public health and epidemiology from the University of Copenhagen and the lead author of the paper, told the science publication Videnskab.dk that the study sent a clear message.

“We need to take this seriously,” she said. “Our study shows that one of the consequences of bullying can be depression.”

Poul Videbech, a professor in psychiatry at Aarhus University, agrees with the findings. “It is an interesting and important result. I can recognise it from clinical practice,” he said.

“We know that bullying affects one’s self-confidence and self-esteem. So it is easily imaginable that bullying pushes towards depression and maybe triggers it or makes it worse than it otherwise would have been.”

The chicken or the egg?
The study is the biggest of its kind to date and involved 5,485 people in employment being interviewed three times at two-and-a-half-year intervals. Each time the participants were asked questions to determine if they were being bullied and whether they were suffering from depression.

Extra interviews were conducted with 1,481 of the participants: half of whom were the victims of bullying and showed signs of depression or anxiety while the rest were selected randomly.

Gullander explains that despite the strength of the results, it is still difficult to say if bullying leads to depression or whether depression increases the perception of being bullied.

“The problem is that we still can’t say anything conclusively about the extent to which your depressive symptoms make you more vulnerable to negative relations,” she said.

Educators get tips on how to deal with student sexting [Montreal Gazette, by Brenda Branswell,30/1/2015]

A high school student snaps an intimate photo of herself and sends it to her boyfriend, but then frets after they break up about what might happen to it

Maybe nothing happens. Or maybe the sexual image gets shared and posted online.

Sexting” or sending sexual images over cellphones, was the focus of a talk Friday at the English Montreal School Board where staff gathered to hear Noni Classen from the Canadian Centre for Child Protection.

“It’s hard to measure, but what we do know is it’s happening much more than it’s reported,” Classen said of the practice among teenagers.

The Winnipeg-based charitable organization has seen about a 10 per cent increase in cases dealing with “sexting” on cybertip.ca, its tip line for reporting the online sexual exploitation of children.

“And we know that we’re only getting the tip of the iceberg so we can say that it is a pervasive problem in that it’s occurring much more regularly than it used to.”— Noni Classen of the Canadian Centre for Child Protection

“And we know that we’re only getting the tip of the iceberg so we can say that it is a pervasive problem in that it’s occurring much more regularly than it used to,” said Classen, the centre’s director of education.

They hear about it when it becomes a problem for a kid, she said. They know there are cases involving boys as well, but girls are overrepresented in the reports they receive and what they hear.

The centre looked at 108 cases of teenage sexting reported to its tip line of photos being posted or shared. The vast majority of cases involved girls — 93. Parents knew about it in 35 cases and schools in only 19 instances.

Most of the reporting to the centre’s tip line is about adults involving things like child pornography and luring. But since 2005, they’ve started seeing an increase in reporting from kids because of this problem that they had “created content and it was causing distress for them. So they became the reporting person and the victim,” Classen said.

“We started looking at this going okay, there’s a problem. And our law enforcement partners … they started saying: ‘Oh my gosh, we’re being inundated by this.’ And then we started getting calls from schools and so realized we really need to take a look at this and put something together that’s more of a framework and a structured way to be walking through these cases to support kids.”
Resource guide

The centre has produced a resource guide for schools and families about “self/peer exploitation.” The section for families can be downloaded for free from the centre’s website. It also has a website, www.needhelpnow.ca, that offers information for teens who have been affected by the sharing of sexual images and videos with suggestions for how they can try to get them taken off the Internet.

Schools often call it cyberbullying and it’s because content has been created and then shared with other people beyond it’s intended recipient, Classen said.

“You also get a range. So you get some kids who it’s not a big deal, but they know that it’s a problem if there’s pictures being shared so we need to get the pictures down, we need to get the pictures contained. Other kids can’t stop worrying about it. It’s a huge source of anxiety for them. It’s a huge source of anxiety for their families … concern for what do we do, how do we deal with this?”
Can became suicidal

For others it’s so distressing they can became suicidal, Classen said.

It has become one of the issues they’re dealing with, said Pela Nickoletopoulos, principal at Lester B. Pearson High School in Montreal North, who has had to intervene in a few cases.

“It is something that we come across in the school often enough,” said Jaimie Dimopoulos, a guidance counsellor at Rosemount High School.

“In the events that I’ve seen, it’s the students that are coming to see us because they feel stuck and they’re not sure what else they can do at this point,” Dimopoulos said.

In her experience, it has typically been girls sending pictures to their boyfriends “and then they’re kind of stuck with the boyfriends have this content now and they don’t feel safe with it, or they’ve now entered into an argument so they’re not sure how this will be used,” Dimopoulos said.

Cyberbully: it’s becoming a bigger problem than ever, so what can be done about online bullying?[The Independent, by Anastasia de Waal, 16/1/2015].

How many calls do you get about the issue of cyberbullying?

BullyingUK saw calls relating to cyberbullying increase by 77% over a 12 month period.  Cyberbullying can and does have a seismic effect on the families concerned. In an online survey, BullyingUK also found that 43.5% of respondents aged between 11 and 16 had been bullied via social networks.  51% felt that blocking the bully from further contact or communication was a vital tool.

How big a problem is online bullying?

We believe that some children are being relentlessly bullied with no respite as online social media channels permeate the home and the school environment. But the act of bullying itself is the problem. Whilst recent efforts have focused on the pernicious effects of open and anonymous ‘cyberbullying’; confrontational and physical bullying remains an issue. A national BullyingUK survey (1761 respondents) found:

·  93% of pupils reported that bullying occurred at school primarily during break, in classrooms and the playground

·  81.4% of young people were bullied by more than one person. 62% of the children confided in their parents

·  95% of parent respondents told BullyingUK that bullying took place in school, with 83.2% identified as name calling, 66% as physical bullying and 68.1% social bullying

Has the law changed to deal with the issue?

There is no legal definition of cyberbullying within UK law. However there are a number of existing laws that can be applied to cases of cyberbullying and online harassment, namely the Protection from Harassment Act 1997, Criminal Justice and Public Order Act 1994, Malicious Communications Act 1988, Communications Act 2003, Breach of the Peace (Scotland), Defamation Act 2013. Guidelines issued by the Crown Prosecution Service in Dec 2012 explain how cases of cyberbullying will be assessed under the current legislation. Download the ‘CPS Guidelines’ here.The Defamation Act 2013 came into force on 1st January 2014. To read the act and for more information click here.

Should anonymous sites where young people can comment on each other be banned?

For every site that is banned another one will pop up a few days later. Therefore parents, professionals and children need to equip themselves with the resilience to recognize the signs of cyberbullying.

Since early 2013, BullyingUK has been contacted by people express their concern about sites such as Ask.fm which allegedly let any viewer see the names, photographs and details of children as young as 13, then post comments or questions on their profile pages – this has reportedly ranged from insults to perverted sexual advances and threats of violence. This week Ask.fm announced its first safety advisory board to make the site a “safer and more positive place” for users.

That any website enables young and impressionable children and adults to anonymously post damaging and derogatory comments towards young children and adults and needs to be addressed.

What would you advise parents to do?

Technology has become part of the tapestry of family life and plays an increasingly prevalent role in day to day, family activity. However, it is not something that parents  – or their children – are at the mercy of – all too often we forget that the online world is a controllable experience.

The same common sense needs to be applied to internet usage as to any other area of parenting. It’s about critical thinking and making smart choices for a healthy balance between digital life and real life. An obvious, but very common, scenario is “my child is glued to their mobile phone from the moment they come home from school to the moment they fall asleep that night”.

First things first: set boundaries early on, particularly around screen time, and instil from the start a rule that devices are left downstairs at bed time. The second thing is to lead by example: the same rules apply for the adults as for the kids. If a parent is continually engrossed on their iPad, or checks work emails during family time, then it makes that behaviour appropriate, and it’s hardly surprising children do the same.

The key is to not wait for conflict, but put boundaries in place to stand you in good stead to deal with issues as and when they arise.  Parents have always worried about their children’s use of existing and emerging technologies.  We encourage parents to have conversations with their children as the consequences of accessing inappropriate and violent sites can be extremely damaging and can distort perceptions about real life and relationships.

Should children be allowed their own laptap?

We advise keeping PCs, laptops and tablets in a room used by all the family.  Parents must monitor how much time their child/ren spend online and encourage them to openly talk about what they’re looking at.  Young people are more likely to seek help and advice from parents who listen and are supportive, rather than those who lecture or fly off the handle.

Parents should be talking to their children at a young age and stressing the importance of a password, and how they should NEVER share their passwords out with friends or strangers. Parents should create their children’s online accounts themselves and not let the child do it.  That way they will also have access to passwords. Of course parents can’t monitor other occasions where their child may set up an account hence why the importance of not sharing passwords must be re-iterated.

If you have purchased your child a laptop make sure you set the laptop up with you as the ‘Administrator’ and create your child’s account without these rights.  This is a safety precaution as it also prevents your child from installing in malware or by mistake clicking on something they should not have which could then install malicious software onto their laptop.  It is through software like this that criminals are able to take control of web cams on machines.

Microsoft also has very easy to use ‘Parental Controls. Windows 8 for example lets you create an account as a ‘child’s account’ and then the wizard walks you through step by step the various parental control options.  When your child begins to use their laptop logged in with their ‘child’ account they get a little pop saying their account is being monitored via parental controls. You as the parent will receive a weekly report emailed to you on what your child has been doing. Some of the report covers items such as the number of hours they have used certain applications, the most used ‘search terms’ typed in and any potentially unsafe sites visited.

What about their phone?

Mobile phones and tablets come with very useful ‘Restrictions’ area on their operating system. You as the parent can enable this via a 4 digit pin. Your child then cannot access this section without your pin.  You can access this area in setting/restrictions and manage your child’s access to the internet browser and the app store. You can switch off ‘in app purchases’ and even select the age level of apps and movies and music they can access. You can also prevent face-time from being used.  This is a very useful area to set up and only takes minutes.

What should schools do?

Whilst not being limitless in their capacity of course, schools need to be alive to the reality that bullying today goes well beyond the boundaries of the playground. Just as with any form of bullying schools should be alert to the signs and work to foster collaboration between teachers, parents and pupils in tackling the issue. For more information visit here.

What advice would you give to young people about their online identity?

Just as we teach children how to cross the road and how to swim, online activity and social media interaction should be initially supervised. Adults may feel they are behind the technological curve, but parents and other family members may wish to familiarise themselves with how the ever evolving computer and mobile technology works. For example, spending time with children looking at functions, exploring how to block unwanted emails and the GPS facility.

If a child seems distressed after a phone call or time spent on the internet, try and find out the reasons for this.  Vulnerable children can become so consumed by negative online comments towards them, it is crucial that a sense of perspective and proportion is injected by a role model to avoid issues spiralling out of control.

Anastasia de Waal is Chair of BullyingUK