The leading children’s charity and Facebook are in the early stages of forging a new partnership to tackle bullying on the social network on bullying.
“We are working on a project with the ISPCC to develop a healthy, anti-bullying culture in Ireland on Facebook and look forward to announcing more about it later this year,” said Facebook policy director Simon Milner
In the meantime, the ISPCC is hoping the social media giant will make the former’s Blue Shield anti-bullying campaign available to as many users as possible.
ISPCC chief executive Ashley Balbirnie said the shield could be used by Facebook users to access the back-up services provided by childline.ie.
Mr Milner said Facebook welcomed ISPCC’s campaign because it believed in creating a culture of accountability where people reported bullying and stood up for each other.
The shield campaign is supported by child psychologist David Coleman, who said adults needed to become familiar with the new environment created by cyber-bullying.
“While some kids will do OK in those environments, others will really suffer.”
Mr Coleman said there had to be a community response to bullying as its effects could last a lifetime.
Mr Balbirnie said last year Childline received over 2,0000 calls every day and far too many of the calls were about bullying.
The ISPCC has a text service for children who are being bullied. By texting the word ‘bully’ to 50101, children and young people can access real-time support between 2pm and 10pm Monday to Sunday.
Asked about a new national survey that found 60% of adults want schools to ban smartphones and the use of social networks, Mr Balbirnie said: “The ISPCC would look to education to deal with an issue like that as, children, by their nature, would come up with all sorts of ways to get around a prohibition.”