Cyber bullying talks rolled out in Longford schools

The Longford Gardai Community team of Sgt Ursula Hussey, Garda Michael Belton and Garda Kenneth Duggan, along with Regional Youth Officer for Foróige, Jim Maher, are visiting schools in Longford talking to students around the topic of cyber bullying.

The Longford Gardai Community team of Sgt Ursula Hussey, Garda Michael Belton and Garda Kenneth Duggan, along with Regional Youth Officer for Foróige, Jim Maher, are visiting schools in Longford talking to students around the topic of cyber bullying.

Over the past year cyber bullying has really come to the fore in our national headlines and local Gardaí together with Foróige are visiting schools to educate young people on cyber bully and the outcomes of cyber bullying on their peers. Schools visited in the past week include Mean School Mhuire and St Mel’s College Longford, with all classes up to third year involved in the talks.

Garda Michael Belton explained the importance of educating young people on matters like cyber bullying so that they are aware of what exactly it is and how they can deal with it if they are subjected to it.

“It is important for young people to understand the consequences of cyber bullying both on the victim and the perpetrator as in all cases cyber bullying ruins lives,” he added.

The “Connect with Respect” Garda Secondary School Programme aims to change the attitude of bystanders to make them more likely to intervene positively and effectively in online bullying situations. It also aims to help students to understand the impact that cyber bullying can have on different people and to recognise that cyber bullying is not acceptable. It aims to help prevent this behaviour from occurring and to enable people to respond effectively if it does occur.

Jim Maher, Regional Youth Officer for Foróige is promoting FAB FEB “Foróige Against Bullying”, the national campaign being rolled out by Foróige focuses on the safe use of social media sites such as Facebook.

“Young people on average have befriended over 600 people on Facebook which is a very worrying statistic as most young people don’t know exactly who they have befriended,” said Mr Maher. “Parents need to familiarise themselves to enable them to be able to monitor more closely the amount of time their children spend on social media sites such as Facebook and be clear on what is going on online. As technology develops, there is a need for our parental skills to develop in line with these new technologies,” he added.

Some Top Tip guidelines for parents to impart to their children around internet safety are:

1. Never put your mobile number up on any social media site. 2. Never accept people you don’t know. 3. Never Post a video or picture of somebody without telling them. 3. Always keep your password a secret and never share with anyone not even your closest friend. 4. Log out of all accounts as soon as you’re finished. 5. Never meet somebody alone you have only met online. 6. Mobile phones should be turned off at night.

If you wish to get more information in relation to cyber bullying talks “Connect with Respect” and FAB FEB guidelines please contact local community Gardai on 043 33 34104 or you can contact Jim Maher Foróige 086 9672920 or alternatively email james.maher@forogie.ie