'We need law to fight net bullies,' say child safety experts
THE Government must legislate to make cyber-bullying a criminal offence, according to one of the country's leading child safety experts.
Dr Geoffrey Shannon said there had been a massive rise in the problem of online bullying in recent years.
"The law must keep pace with technology in protecting vulnerable young children," said the Government's Special Rapporteur on Child Protection.
"A clear system of legal recourse is required to provide for an offence of cyber-bullying and to encourage victims to come forward, anonymously if needs be."
He also said the Government should introduce laws to protect children's privacy before the courts.
He was speaking as he presented his annual report to the Oireachtas Joint Committee on Health and Children.
He also backed the idea of a ban on alcohol sponsorship of sporting events, which has been sidelined by the Government.
Dr Shannon warned that alcohol abuse has been "one of the most striking features" in cases of children who have died while in the care of the State.