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Friday 22 August 2014

Public views sought on cyber-bullying

Aideen Sheehan

Published 25/01/2014 | 02:30

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Cuber bullying has become a major problem for young people

PARENTS and children are being asked to give their views on how to protect young people from cyber-bullying and harmful material on the internet.

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Communications Minister Pat Rabbitte has launched a public consultation on social media and if, or how, the Government should regulate internet content.

This comes amid mounting concerns about cyber-bullying, and follows allegations that it contributed to the suicides of a number of teenagers last year.

Mr Rabbitte told the Dail that the vast scale and dynamic of internet content had made it an essential tool in the daily lives of millions of Irish people.

"However, this dynamism can pose challenges for young and old alike. Society and the State need to continually evaluate how best to deal with this," he said.

Research has shown that three-quarters of Irish 13-14-year-olds and nearly half of those aged 11 to 12 are active on social-networking sites.

The Internet Content Governance Advisory Group (ICGAG) said the first question it was putting to the public was whether or not there was a role for the State in regulating internet content and online safety.

"The circulation of inappropriate or threatening messages, offensive videos or photos on social media, sometimes hiding behind the anonymity that the internet can afford, means that the bullying can be seen by a very wide audience," it said.

The Law Reform Commission was looking at whether an offence of cyber-bullying should be enacted, but the ICGAG also wanted feedback from the public . Parents, academics and others are being asked to give their response by February 28, with details on dcenr.gov.ie.

Irish Independent

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