Cyberbullying - Social media timebomb

Social media is having a negative effect on children and teenagers in Ireland, a cross-party group of TDs and senators warned yesterday. The Office of Internet Safety is not even trying to deal with cyberbullying.

There is no proper means of regulating social media users who engage in such bullying. Regulation is left to the social media companies themselves, and they are not equipped to deal with the problem.

One such provider noted, for instance, that it receives some 100,000 requests per day, but it has only 90 people to deal with these requests. Hence many complaints about cyberbullying are ignored.

Irish children go online at least once a day for an average of 61 minutes. They are particularly vulnerable, because many of the parents do not understand social media, much less the dangers of cyberbullying.

A survey, published by the international Safer Internet Day organisation earlier this year, reported that Irish teenagers experienced a higher than average level of cyberbullying compared with their counterparts in the 25 other countries surveyed. Yet more than two-thirds of their parents were not aware of the bullying.

The whole thing is a social timebomb that must be tackled with determination.


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