Beating the bullies – a joint effort

Parents and schools need to work together to both educate and protect their children against cyber bullying, says Michael Brennan

Do you think most teachers are aware of and can recognise cyber bullying threats?

Most teachers are aware of the signs and types of cyber bullying threats however many struggle in this day and age to recognise and uncover the route cause of these online threats. Cyber bullying is constant and there is no escape for students who fall victim to cyber bullying attacks. Phones, Ipad’s and laptops combined with social media creates a 24/7 portal for bullies to contact and threaten their victims online.

How can schools ensure that all staff receive appropriate online safety training?

All staff should be offered training and support to help identify students who fall victim to cyber bullying threats and attacks. By providing regular and up to date training to staff, schools can ensure they are up to date with the latest social media apps and security protocols required in order to keep students safe online.

Would you say that most children are now aware of potential online dangers? What can we do to highlight them further?

More and more children are becoming educated about the potential online dangers they face at school and at home however not enough children are being given a voice to speak up against these threats or attacks of cyber bullying once they fall victim.

How can we get children more involved in anti-bullying campaigns online and offline?

In order for children to be more involved in anti bullying campaigns both online and offline, resources and tools that are both current and impactful, which relate to set age groups, needs to be applied. By encouraging students to talk about issues they face and worry about, and offering resources and tools which allows them to have a voice is the key to involving young people in both online and offline anti-bullying work.

Can parents now also recognise the potential dangers? How can we educate and support parents with online safety?

Educational resources are becoming more and more readily available for parents, which in turn is allowing parents to self educate against the potential dangers their children face online however there is still a huge communication gap between parents and schools. Parents and schools need to work together to both educate and protect their children within the school environment and the wider community.

Can teachers and parents realistically keep up with tech-savvy children, and therefore, protect them from cyberbullying threats?

As more and more children continue to adopt new technologies and social media applications, the need for parents and teachers to keep up with tech-savvy children becomes ever more demanding and complicated. In this modern world there is simply no way that parents and teachers can 100% keep up with the speed of change and the dangers of cyber bullying threats. The advice I would give parents and teachers is to put the appropriate technologies in place to help safeguard their children as best they can whilst continually providing education about the dangers and consequences which they may face when online.

Michael Brennan is Managing Director of Tootoot