Cyberbullying is a complex issue that unfortunately moves beyond the boundaries of the school gates. It is an issue that has reached critical levels in Ireland and every parent and every school has a responsibility to do all they can to educate children about cyberbullying.
So what should schools be doing to prevent cyberbullying?
Schools are required to have an anti-bullying policy in place that is available to students, members of the school and parents. This policy should be implemented in full and reviewed regularly.
The anti-bullying policy should outline specific steps to take to deal with any form of bullying behaviour and also provide a framework for an overall code of behaviour and discipline.
The anti-bullying policy should set out;
What the school is doing to prevent bullying behaviour
What students can do
What parents can do
What teachers should do to
Who to contact in the event of a problem
How incidents of bullying will be dealt with
It’s important to create a positive, supportive atmosphere with clear outlines for reporting bullying as well as working towards building awareness of the issues are all important steps which will help to reduce the risks and build a culture where bullying of this kind can be reported freely.
Social, personal and health education (SPHE) classes provide students with opportunities to learn the skills necessary to care for themselves and others and about the importance of internet and mobile phone safety. This class also helps students make informed decisions about their health, friendships and social development.