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Bullying image via Shutterstock

63 per cent of people think schools should ban smartphones and social networks

The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals is calling on social networks to work with schools and take a great role in tackling bullying.

MOST PEOPLE BELIEVE that parents and schools should share responsibility for tackling cyberbullying, according to the results of a survey by Amárach Research for the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD).

In the survey of just over 1,000 people, 63 per cent said that schools should ban smartphones and social networks while 66 per cent said they believe parents should police their children’s internet use.

The research was conducted by NAPD in an effort to raise public awareness of bullying, including the rising incidence of cyberbullying.

Some 81 per cent of people surveyed said they think cyberbullying and traditional bullying have equally serious implcations for children’s health with 12 per cent saying they believe cyberbullying is more serious.

When it comes to advising children on safe internet practice, 68 per cent said parents should do it, while 73 per cent believe it is the responsibility of the schools.  70 per cent also believe schools should install internet safety software.

Clive Byrne, NAPD Director, said the results show that most people believe bullying, in whatever form, “imperils children’s mental health”, and responsibility for tackling the problem is shared between parents and schools.

For educators, parents and children, the message is that bullying, whether conducted online or offline, can seriously damage children’s mental health and we must all work together to stamp it out. As increased access to technology enables the rise of online bullying, we must renew our resolve to tackle cyber risk, in particular, while at the same time treating bullying, however it presents, as an ongoing serious health risk facing children and broader society.

Byrne also urged the social networks to have a greater role in combating cyberbullying.

“Principals tell me that the social networks either do not respond or are slow to react to their requests to take down abusive posts about a student in their care,” he said. “The social networks ought to have a dedicated liaison officer whose job it is to take calls from schools and parents and act promptly in deleting offensive posts.”

NAPD encouraged schools to introduce an internet educational module for all students, highlighting the seriousness of cyberbullying, and to devise and implement a school-wide policy that monitors cyber risk and outlines steps for dealing with it.

The organisation has issued guidelines to schools on dealing with cyberbullying as a principal, year head, guidance counsellor, victim and perpetrator, as well as urging schools to educate parents associations about the dangers of social networks and new technologies.

Related: TD says social media bullying has contributed to deaths>
More: Fitzgerald concerned about difficulty of regulating cyberbullying sites>

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