Sunday 21 July 2019

Schools want Facebook to appoint staff to deal with cyber-bullying

Picture posed. Thinkstock
Picture posed. Thinkstock

SECOND-level school principals want social networks to appoint dedicated staff to take calls from schools and parents to help combat cyberbullying.

Principals are frustrated that social networks either do not respond or are slow to react to school requests to take down abusive posts about a student in their care.

The National Association of Principals and Deputy Principals (NAPD) director Clive Byrne said networks such as Facebook have a greater role to play in dealing with the problem.

"Social networks ought to have a dedicated liaison officer whose job it is to take calls from schools and parents and act promptly in deleting offensive posts," he said.

Mr Byrne was speaking as a new survey for the NAPD reveals that most people believe that both parents and schools share responsibility for tackling cyberbullying.

The survey was commissioned to raise public awareness of bullying, including the rising incidence of cyberbullying.

The poll of 1,001 adults found:

• 81pc believe cyberbullying and traditional bullying have equally serious implications for children's mental health.

• 12pc believe cyberbullying is more serious than traditional bullying.

• 66pc say parents should police children's internet use.

• 63pc say schools should ban smartphones and social networks.

When asked about the roles of parents and schools in tackling cyberbullying, 68pc said parents should advise and warn children about safe internet practice, while 66pc believe parents should supervise their children's online activity.

A higher number, 73pc, thought schools should advise on safe online practice and warn children about the risks of internet use, while 70pc believe schools should install internet safety software.

Almost half, 49pc, believe parents should curb their children's internet use, while 66pc say that schools should have guidelines on cyberbullying and should supervise children's online activity in class.

Complaints

Facebook safety director, Patricia Cartes, recently told the Irish Independent that it prioritises all complaints from juveniles and, in particular, those involving allegations of cyber-bullying.

Facebook has over one billion members and, on a single day, can receive over 100,000 member contacts including complaints about content such as bullying and abusive material.

The site offers 24-hour complaint action and strives to offer a 24-hour response period.

"What I can certainly say is that 100pc of those (complaint) reports are looked into. We are on 100pc coverage and we highly prioritise reports involving minors and cyber-bullying," she said.

"We would also investigate if any (abusive) content is linked to bad networks, because that is usually how it works. We try to get to the root of the problem, not just the one account that has been mentioned."

Facebook said it supported education programmes in schools about the responsible and safe use of the internet.

Irish Independent

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