MEMBERS of a girls' GAA club are quitting all social media for a month to highlight cyber bullying.
The teenage players at Ardara club in south-west Donegal are hoping to raise money for new jerseys during the sponsored event.
It's the latest example of community organisations responding to the growing threat to young people online and follows a number of teenage suicides linked to online bullying. More than 40 members of the under-14 and under-16 squads have agreed to quit Facebook and Twitter throughout February.
"The Government isn't doing anything about this so we felt we needed to do something," the chairman of Ardara Ladies Board Thomas Boyle told the Irish Independent.
"The idea came from one of the coaches and there was certainly a great deal of apprehension when it was first put to the girls. But they've all bought into it now," he said.
Players will be selling sponsorship at €2 per line, hoping to raise €5,000 for a new set of training tops and equipment.
"I'm confident the girls will stick to this," said Mr Thomas. "Even if we don't raise enough money, we will have increased awareness (of) online bullying . . . and the horrendous consequences for too many families."
He hoped the initiative might inspire other youth organisations to follow suit. "This is a grassroots-up initiative. The GAA club is the heart of the community; we don't have any other sporting organisations where we are," he said.
"You never know but some of the girls might even stay off Facebook afterwards."
Meanwhile, a bishop who quit Twitter after receiving negative comments about the clergy has returned to the social networking site.
The Church of Ireland Bishop of Cork, Cloyne and Ross, Paul Colton, decided to deactivate his Twitter account in mid-January following venomous attacks by internet 'trolls'.
At the time he tweeted: "Depressing and infuriating to wake up to such venomous generalisations and hatred about religion and clergy on my Twitter timeline."
But yesterday, the social media-friendly bishop, who married David and Victoria Beckham in 1999, indicated he had decided to give tweeting another go.
He marked his return to the Twittersphere with the tweet: "Thanks for the many kind messages. Today is the Feast of the Conversion of St Paul – a good day for Paul to give Twitter another try? Back for now."
One of his Twitter followers tweeted his delight that Bishop Colton was back. "Great to see that Bishop Paul Colton has returned to Twitter," he said.
To prevent a repeat of venomous attacks, Bishop Colton now has a lock on his Twitter account, which means he must first personally "accept" a follower before they can see his posts.
Prior to his departure, Bishop Colton had 3,000 followers.