Safety campaign aims to ‘wipe out’ online bullying

The Garda Commissioner, Martin Callinan, has launched a new campaign to “wipe out” online bullying of young people.

The effort comes as a survey shows more than half of all parents regularly checked what their child was doing online.

Mr Callinan was speaking at the launch of the new Garda online strategy, which forms part of the Garda primary schools programme, and the launch of Webwise primary school programme, both to mark Safer Internet Day.

The Garda chief urged young people to turn to someone they could trust if they were being bullied.

“My advice is, if there is a disturbing message that they would keep it and show it to somebody so we can take action through the service providers or indeed ourselves to stop it.”

He said society expected people to behave in a certain way face-to-face, but added: “You don’t always have that in terms of the internet and people hide behind computers and mobile phones.

“It’s just to wipe that out, create the space really for young people that they can feel safe and don’t feel intimidated by bullying or people that are harassing them or other inappropriate behaviour.”

He said bullying could have “very serious consequences” for the health and well being of the victim if it was not addressed.

“Bullying through the use of texting, email, Facebook, etc presents a new challenge because it can be relentless, and a young person may find no place to escape this unacceptable behaviour.

“There are some wonderfully positive things in there [the internet], it is a fountain of knowledge and a source of great research opportunities for youngsters.

“Equally so, there are huge dangers attached to it, because people can hide behind anonymity, they can create false images, false profile of themselves, so it’s important people are aware of that, they be careful of their own personal messages.”

A survey conducted by the National Parents Council Primary and the National Centre for Technology in Education found that 59% of parents were concerned about their child being bullied online.

The body launched its Webwise programme in conjunction with the Stay Safe programme.

Meanwhile, a computer security company, Trend Micro, also launched its programme on internet safety yesterday. It said its research showed half of those surveyed never reviewed their privacy settings on social networks and that 12% of children accepted any friend request they received on Facebook.

* See webswise.ie or facebook.com/webwise

© Irish Examiner Ltd. All rights reserved

Email Updates

Receive our lunchtime briefing straight to your inbox

More in this Section

Group reveals €2m investment for Cork hotel

New website aims to get college students involved in volunteer activities

Fisheries and cannibalism linked to seal deaths

Fine Gael labelled ‘the landlord party’ due to homeless crisis


Breaking Stories

Adams: 'Why on earth would I say that I received the names from (Austin Stack) if I didn’t?'

Man shot in Cork city

'It's like winning the Derby again' declares trainer of kidnapped champion greyhound

Gardaí seek public's help in finding missing 73-year-old man

Lifestyle

Full disclosure in Oliver Stone's new film about CIA whistleblower Edward Snowden

What to buy for the most awkward people in your life this Christmas

Children's hospice makes sure families experience a truly precious Christmas

Making Cents: PCPs are the deals for those looking for new wheels

More From The Irish Examiner