GOVERNMENT guidelines on bullying are hopelessly out of date, according to a Boherbue teenager who has been receiving national recognition for her outspoken views on cyber bullying.
Just this week the latest shocking story of Cyber bullying emerged where an 11 year old girl from Blackrock in Cork was threatened with a knife attack by tormenters of the same age on Facebook, and in recent times many tragic suicides world wide have been attributed to online bullying.
Áine Curtin, who is a fourth year student at Boherbue Comprehensive School, was recently invited to participate in the Safer Internet Ireland Advisory Panel which was organised by Webwise.ie, the Irish Internet Awareness Centre which is affiliated to the European network 'In Safe'.
Áine's involvement arose as a result of an essay she wrote on cyber bullying. Due to extensive coverage of the topic in the press, Boherbue Comprehensive teacher Patrick Hickey encouraged his pupils to further explore the issue and was so impressed by Áine's contribution, he submitted it to the Irish Examiner.
Following the publication of her letter, Áine was invited to her first meeting in Dublin where she and nine other panel members from all over Ireland discussed both the positive and negative fall out from the extensive use of social media.
Áine told The Corkman that guidelines on bullying published by the Government are hopelessly out of date as they were set up back in 1993. "I don't think this is good enough", she said. "Obviously, the Government thinks this isn't a serious enough issue for them to be bothered with.
"They have enough time to take money from our children and make cutback after cutback, but do nothing to save young people's lives.
"In 1993, when the current anti-bullying guidelines were drawn up, the Internet was not even a fraction of what it is today".
She went on to explain how teenagers spend hours every day checking Facebook and Twitter, and are therefore, extremely vulnerable to online bullies.
Áine will attend a further meeting in Dublin shortly and hopes that she and her fellow panel members can come up with some useful strategies to tackle this grave and sinister problem.
Launched in 1993, Safer Internet Day is an initiative of the European Commission Safer Internet Programme.
The Irish Safer Internet Ireland Youth Advisory Panel was launched in 2010 by the then education and science minister Batt O'Keeffe.