Cyberbullying is when a person or group of people use modern technology, such as the internet, mobile phones or other digital technologies to deliberately cause upset to someone by threatening, harassing, abusing or teasing them. Harassment and threatening behaviour are against the law. The law includes cyberbullying as part of this.
Bo’ness Academy Role in Tackling Cyberbullying
If cyberbullying takes place in school, this will be dealt with in the same way as any other form of bullying in line with the school’s behaviour policy. Bullying is not acceptable and will not be tolerated. Any allegations of bullying will be treated seriously and investigated. If bullying has occurred then decisions will be made about appropriate responses. These could include: restorative conversations, the confiscation of a mobile phone or other relevant technology; exclusion from social time; other sanctions including exclusion from the school.
If cyber-bullying is happening outside school, for example; texts, calls, or social networking communication, then it would still be helpful for the school to be aware and we would encourage pupils to inform their Pupil Support Teacher. We would, if those involved are known/suspected, contact the parents of other children and let them know what has been alleged. We would also explain that cyber-bullying is a form of harassment and thus a matter that can be passed to the police. Like all secondary schools across Falkirk Council we have a school based police officer. If it deemed necessary by our staff then information will be passed to the school based police officer where necessary.
The police would be the correct contact for concerns of ongoing harassment when children are out of school and in the care of their parents/carers.
This is a matter which the school takes very seriously and thus we educate students about the damaging effects of this type of behaviour. Bullying and cyber-bullying are covered primarily within PSE (Personal and Social Education) but also covered in other subject areas as well. Our Pupil Support staff also liaise with our School Based Police Officer, PC Meikle and he delivers inputs across PSE classes.
Advice for parents/carers if you believe your child is a victim of cyberbullying
Please encourage your child to talk to you about what has been happening. Explain that you can help them to sort it out.
You should advise your child:-
- Not to reply to any messages they receive, as this may encourage the bullies. Advise them not to retaliate
- Not to answer calls from withheld numbers or from numbers they do not recognise
- Keep a copy of the abusive emails, texts or messages that they receive and when these were sent
- Never to give out any personal details on the internet such as their real name, address, age or phone number. Even telling someone which school they attend can help that person find out information about them
- Only give out their mobile phone number to close friends
- Contact the service provider or host (i.e. the chatroom, the social network provider, or mobile operator) to inform them of what has happened, and get their advice on how to stop this happening again. The service provider may be able to block particular senders or callers (for landlines), or advise on how to change contact details, and potentially delete the accounts of those that are abusing the service
- Discourage use of the internet in private spaces where adults are not present to monitor what is going on
- Ensure your child does not set up social networking IDs with inappropriate personal pictures, ages and/or descriptions.
- Report the matter to the school and/or to the police depending on the circumstances
Checking your child’s involvement
Although it may be uncomfortable to accept, some of our pupils are getting caught up in cyberbullying and are not thinking of the consequences of what they are doing. You may find that your child has been involved in cyberbullying and it is therefore vitally important that you talk to your son/daughter and understand the ways in which they are using the internet and their mobile phones. It is crucial that we work together in order to help the young people within our community to realise the consequences of what they say or write online.
Websites and Helplines for Parents/Carers
Childline – free 24 hour helpline for children and young people. https://www.childline.org.uk Tel: 0800 1111
Samaritans – website and helpline for those in distress https://www.samaritans.org Tel: 08457 90 90 90
Childnet – a range of resources for primary and secondary schools, for children and young
people, for teachers and for parents www.childnet-int.org
Anti-Bullying Alliance – this website has a parents section with useful information on how to look for signs of bullying and how to support your child www.anti-bullyingalliance.org.uk
Internet Matters – A not for profit organisation who aim to keep children safe in the digital world https://www.internetmatters.org