“Both my Department and I have been working with our colleagues in the Department of Education and have finalised an ‘Action Plan On Bullying’ to help tackle bullying in schools. Cyberbullying is an emerging phenomenon and like traditional bullying, one that needs to be challenged when we see it. Often parents feel that their children are streets ahead of them when it comes to social media. One of the ways to combat cyberbullying is to educate parents on technology and the protections available if their child is targeted online and this meeting was a perfect example of this,” said Fitzgerald.
Parents on the night heard from Professor Mona O’Moore from Trinity College’s Anti- Bullying Centre about the behaviours of bullies as well as victims and how to communicate with your child on how to behave online. John Wills from Barnardos gave parents a whistlestop tour of the sites, language, dangers and benefits of young people online.
“Parents learnt about how children and young people use social media in different ways to their parents and the signs to watch out for if they are concerned that their child is being cyber bullied, or indeed cyberbullying. Remembering to Stop, Block and Report abuse online is the first step when dealing with cyberbullying and is a simple but effective way in stopping these instances. It is vital that both parents and children have a sense of empowerment and that they have the ability to interrupt bullying behaviour. I look forward to progressing the national ‘Action Plan on Bullying’ and continuing to engage with the school community to stamp out cyber bullying,” concluded Fitzgerald.