Tackling cyber-bullying is a top priority in Nottinghamshire schools, says council chief

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Nottinghamshire County Council’s anti-bullying co-ordinator says cyber-safety and cyber-bullying continue to be the top priority in her work with schools across the county.

Lorna Naylor made her comments after a poll by internet security firm McAfee revealed that more than a third of children say they have been victims of cyber-bullying.

Said Lorna: “In some respects I’m not sure there’s necessarily more bullying; it’s just that it’s moved with the times and young people are now using the technology available to them to bully their peers.

“Children and young people continue to use sites, apps and games which are not age appropriate so parents need to be made aware of the risks involved of not monitoring their online activity.”

She said many of the sites seem harmless to adults but any site which says it is only for over 13s is giving a clear message that it has no filters or moderators and therefore not suitable.

“In my discussion with parents many feel pressured to allow their children access to certain games and sites because their school friends use them,” she said.

“Parents need to be involved in their children’s online life, making sure devices have parental controls and openly encouraging them to share their online interests.

“Older children need to be allowed more freedom but also need to know the boundaries and how to deal with unpleasant comments, bullying, and requests for inappropriate images or to meet up.”

During Anti-bullying Week - which begins tomorrow (Monday) Lorna will visit a number of schools to talk to pupils, staff and parents about e-safety.

As well as schools, Lorna will hold sessions at sports clubs and children’s centres.

“The main message I want to get across is one of children becoming e-competent, socially responsible for their actions online,” said Lorna.

If parents would like to attend an e-safety session they can ask their school to organise one.

Many schools also have information and links on their website.

Added: “Cyber-bullying is an issue that everyone needs to be educated on and parents need to support their children so they know if there is a problem it can be discussed openly.”