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05th Feb 2013

Staying Safe Online: Irish Children Feel The Effects of Cyber-Bullying More Than Others

We all know the devastating impact that cyber-bullying can have and some new figures have shown that Irish children tend to feel the effects of it more...

Did you know that when it comes to cyber-bullying, Irish children tend to suffer the effects more than those in other EU countries?

The Irish Independent reports that up to 14 per cent of Irish children aged nine to 16 are still upset two months or more after an incident which occured online. This is compared with only two per cent of children in other European countries.

“This is very high and it is an issue we have to deal with,” said Simon Grehan from Webwise, an internet safety awareness initiative funded by the Department of Education.

Mr Grehan was speaking at the launch of the Watch Your Space campaign, a campaign devoted to young people which shows support for victims of cyber-bullying.

“When a bystander intervenes in a safe and effective way to support victims, or lets a bully know that their behaviour is unacceptable, this can inspire positive action by other bystanders,” said Mr Grehan.

The idea behind the Watch Your Space campaign is that people will be able to use the campaign’s website as a way to show their support for victims of bullying.

Speaking at the launch yesterday, Garda Commissioner Martin Callinan said it was important to stand up to bullying, whether it was online or in the real world.

Cyber-bullying can serious affect young Irish people

Irish parents have also bee warned against giving young primary school children smartphones because it can increase their exposure to cyber-bullying.

Dr Stephen Minto, a psychologist and cyber-bullying expert from Trinity College Dublin, is set to tell a conference today that young children “are technologically smart but not mature enough to handle the issues that can arise, such as cyber-bullying.”

Ireland has already seen the devastating impact that cyber-bullying can have. Last year, Donegal sisters Erin and Shannon Gallagher and Leitrim student Ciara Pugsley took their own lives last year after they received death threats online.

And back in December, junior minister Shane McEntee took his own life after he was the subject of vicious social-media abuse.