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One in ten students have cyberbullied another

New research also shows that three quarters of parents do not check their children’s online activity every day.

Image: online bullying via Shutterstock

Updated 21:57

ALMOST ONE IN 10 students say that they cyberbullied another student, close to double last year’s figure, new research, published today, shows.

9 per cent of students surveyed admitted to engaging in this behaviour, up from 5 per cent in 2013, while 16 per cent of students say they have been bullied online.

The survey by the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD), conducted by Amárach Research, also focuses on the parents’ role in cyberbullying.

Three quarters of parents do not monitor what their children’s online activity each day.

Monitoring

However, 64 per cent of those under 35 check weekly, and 40 per cent of parents over 45.

15 per cent never check.

Director of the NAPD Clive Byrne called the findings “disturbing”.

“This survey provides valuable insight into the ever changing attitudes and prevalence of cyberbullying among post primary pupils,” he said.

The findings are quite disturbing because despite ongoing media attention around the problem, there has been a 33 percent increase in students reporting to being victims of cyberbullying compared to last year.

Byrne added that the rise in the numbers students who say they have bullied others online represents “a clear and present threat to the collective morale of schools across the country”.

The NAPD also intends to make a formal submission on cyberbullying to the Internet Content Advisory Group.

Impact on lives

This group, set up by the Department of Communications, discusses issues around online content and its impact on the lives of children and young people.

As well as addressing other issues, it has been tasked with coming up with specific recommendations regarding the relationship between online service providers, ISPs, the State and citizens over legal material and bullying online.

Public consultation closes this week, with the NAPD’s submission to recommend:

  • Supporting parents by providing increased training for parents, particularly older parents, to ensure that they have greater awareness of cyberbullying, including how it can manifest on social media sites;
  • Developing a National Cyberbullying Policy, which encompasses all relevant Government Departments, public sector bodies and agencies, including the education sector;
  • Developing standardised evaluation templates, by Department of Education and Skills, which allow schools to self-evaluate the effectiveness of existing cyberbullying initiatives within their school;
  • Introducing a class-room module on cyberbullying as part of the Social, Personal and Health Education curriculum, to be taught at Junior and Senior Cycles.

First published 06:30

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Nicky Ryan

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