#UP2US to stop cyberbullying, say students

Material to help get teenagers to teach themselves and their friends how to deal with cyberbullying is on its way to second-level schools.

The #UP2US anti-bullying kit challenges young people to find new ways to stand up to bullying through the internet and social media, and many schools are already taking a lead in this area.

Among them are students of Bishopstown Community School, whose Cybersafe initiative has seen them develop a wristband aimed at raising awareness and showing solidarity with cyberbullying victims.

It comes with a USB key attached, which students can plug into a computer to find information about steps to take if they are being cyberbullied.

It also gives advice on how to take a screenshot from a smartphone or computer as evidence, which can be saved to the USB key itself.

The students’ tips on what to do if you are being cyberbullied include:

- If someone says something that hurts you, ignore it and do not reply;

- Take a screenshot, save the evidence, and note the time and date;

- Block the person who is cyber-bullying you to avoid any further attack;

- Report the abusive messages, pictures, or any hurtful content to the site provider;

- Show the evidence to a trusted adult — parents, teacher, relative, etc;

- If you witness any cyberbullying, do not ignore it. Help the person by telling someone you trust;

- If you are the victim of cyberbullying, you have not done anything wrong, nor is it your fault in any way.

As part of the #UP2US initiative, launched to promote today as part of Safer Internet Day, schools are being invited to highlight their work to create a positive and inclusive culture online.

The school deemed to be doing most will win a live gig by award-winning singer-songwriter Gavin James.

The various projects are organised by internet safety awareness centre Webwise, which is funded by the Department of Education and EU Safer Internet Programme.

Education Minister Ruairi Quinn said #UP2US is an innovative education resource to support school efforts to prevent bullying by developing a positive climate, based on inclusivity and respect in schools and in online communities where children spend their time.

Safer Internet Day is aimed not just at schools, but also at clubs and communities, where young people are being encouraged to address cyberbullying themselves by raising awareness.

* http://www.webwise.ie/ Up2UsPack.shtm

* http://cybersafe.ie


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