Wednesday 22 October 2014

Teenage cyberbullies banned from grinds website

Picture posed. Thinkstock

AN online grinds service has banned three teen schoolboys from using its website after a cyberbullying incident during a lesson last month.

The boys, from a south Dublin school, targeted a girl who was asking the teacher a question and started to ask if she was "hot". When a male student tried to defend her they targeted him, too.

The offenders also tried to get around a swear-word filter on the website by changing the spelling of certain words.

The incident happened in a maths class at OnlineGrinds.ie, which has been offering a free grinds service in maths on Wednesday nights ahead of its formal launch in January.

The site has an online forum and an instant messaging service so students can see comments that others are making.

Company CEO Paul Stenson said after the recent incident they took immediate action to exclude the three male students involved, by banning their computers' identifying IP number.

Students signing up for the service also give their name, age, address and school.

Mr Stenson said with the link between cyberbulling and teen suicides, the company was conscious of the need to ensure no bullying took place in either its live messaging facility or forum.

He also said with so many students using the site it was inevitable that bullying would come up but they operated a zero-tolerance policy.

Students banned from the site for bullying lose any credit in their account and the outstanding value will be donated to one of four charity partners, including Reachout.com, a support service for people with mental health problems.

Interactive

OnlineGrinds.ie will offer Leaving and Junior Cert grinds through live and interactive lessons where students can ask the teacher questions and talk with their online classmates in the moderated chatroom.

The web-grind service will charge students €10 per one-hour class, or €50 per month for unlimited grinds. Payment is through vouchers, which will be valid for 31 days.

Mr Stenson said the company planned to provide grinds in a range of subjects and was looking for teachers.

Irish Independent

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