Fianna Fáil Spokesperson on Children Robert Troy has said shocking new statistics on cyber-bullying need to be addressed urgently by the Government. A new report from the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals recorded a 33% increase in the number of students being targeted by online hate, compared to the same survey last year.
Deputy Troy said: “This is a dramatic increase in the number of children being cyber-bullied and highlights the urgent need for more training and supports for parents. This research shows only one in four parents monitor their kids activity online every day while 15% never check what their children are up to on the internet. I think we need to ensure that parents are more aware of the negative impact cyber-bullying has and understand ways to keep an eye on what children are being exposed to.
“Cyber-bullying can have devastating consequences. I think it is a major component in the mental health crisis that many young people are experiencing and I think it needs to be tackled on a number of different fronts.
“Over three months ago I published the Cyber-Bullying Bill 2013. Under the new law it would be an offence to engage in cyber-bullying and it will also be an offence to assist it or encourage it. This would be the first time the offence of cyber-bullying would be defined in Irish law.
“Under the draft law, cyber-bullying is carried out by text, picture or video-clip, phone calls, emails, on social media, in chat rooms and through instant messaging. Our Bill makes provision for parents to attend mandatory parenting courses and only provides for criminal prosecution when a parent continuously and knowingly permits cyber-bullying by their child.
“Tackling cyber-bullying will require more education, more support and more resources for teachers, for parents and for students. We have seen terrible cases of cyber-bullying that have even resulted in suicide. In light of the sharp increase of bullying cases we see reported in the National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals’ research I would ask the government to look seriously at supporting our legislation. It is essential that this is treated with the level of seriousness required and that where extra resources are needed that they are made available.”