Some Advice for Parents
Cyberbullying refers to bullying which is carried out using the internet, mobile phone or other technological devices. It can take the form of sending nasty, mean or threatening messages, emails, photos or video clips; silent phone calls; putting up nasty posts or pictures on a message board, website or chat room; saying hurtful things in a chat room; pretending to be someone else in a chat room or message board or text message and saying hurtful things; or accessing someone’s accounts to make trouble for them. We have had no major issues at St Mary’s yet but we have been made aware of a number of issues involving some of our pupils involved in inappropriate behaviour. In the classroom we will be dealing with internet safety but as parents the most important thing you can do is get involved with what your child does online
Be aware: Make it your business to know what your child is doing online. Parents have a moral, as well as legal, obligation to ensure that their children are engaged in safe and responsible behaviour online.
Be firm. Set rules regarding when and how long your child can be online. Discuss these rules and post them near the computer as a reminder. Monitor their compliance with these rules, especially when it comes to the amount of time spent on the computer, especially late at night. Remember that personal computers and online services should not be used as electronic babysitters.
(A note on Facebook: Facebook is not meant for primary school pupils as users are supposed to be 13 years of age. As a school we do not approve of students with these pages, however we are aware that some parents are happy to allow their children to have their own Facebook page. We have had indirect reports of students as young as fourth class posting obscene messages on the Facebook pages of other students. If your child is on Facebook you should ask that he allow you to be his/her friend online to monitor his activity. Also be aware that students often have 2 pages - one that they show their parents and one that they keep hidden.
Make sure that your child has privacy settings set to the highest level.)
Be your child’s support system. The biggest way to prevent your child from being a victim of cyber-bullying is to keep the lines of communication open. The means walking a fine line between a concerned caregiver and an overprotective parent. Talk to them about being considerate online and teach them what to do if they encounter inappropriate behaviour.
In the event that your child is being bullied online he/she should:
1. Save the evidence (copy the screen by using a 'screenshot' . Press the [Prt Sc] button. This will take a picture of what is on the screen and then this can be pasted into a Word Document etc.
2. Not respond in any shape or form to any provocation. (Remove the offending party as ‘friends’)
3. Tell an adult or someone he/she trusts
Make Internet access a family activity. Consider keeping the computer in a family room rather than the child’s bedroom. Get to know their "online friends" just as you get to know all of their other friends.
Remember there are many ways to access the Internet. It’s not just computers, but mobile phones and game machines too.
Use of Mobile Phones: You may feel that your child needs a phone for you to be able to contact her/him. is there a need for them to be online on the phone? All mobile phone providers have phones that do not have internet access. Also are you aware of who they might be talking with while they are on X-box Live?
Some useful websites:
www.internetsafety.ie Website of the Office for Internet Safety
www.webwise.ie Provides parents, teachers and children with educational resources, advice and information about potential dangers on-line
www.watchyourspace.ie Advice on managing children’s profiles on social-networking sites