Preventing and responding
to bullying and cyber-bullying
Bullying in Irish Schools
40% of complaints to the Children’s Ombudsman in
Ireland relate to school and bullying is highlighted
as one of the main five issues.
(Report of Ombudsman for Children 2012)
Over half of young people stated that they would not
tell anyone about bullying because they would be
afraid that it would make the bullying worse
(ISPCC’s 2011 National Children’s Consultation survey involving over 18,000 young people)
Most students in a classroom or school
do not bully others regularly and
are not victimized
80% of those who join in do so on the part of the
perpetrator. (Frey et al. Developmental Psychology2005, Vol. 41, No. 3,
To understand cyber-bullying we must first
Bullying is understood to be any behaviour that
repeated over time
For bullying to happen
There must be
A target and a perpetrator
The presence of bystanders adds to the dynamics in
Verbal - Slagging/name calling/teasing or
Social – Spreading rumours/ disrupting
friendships/gossiping/excluding or isolating
Physical - Messing with or taking or damaging
other peoples’ property
Violent - Physical aggression - assaulting in
some way or verbal violence…either by
traditional or cyber means
Some types of bullying behaviours
we may see, hear or be aware of
Some indicators that someone may be being
bullied - effects of bullying
Feelings of insecurity - Damage to self-confidence/self-
Poor or deteriorating academic performance – withdrawal
Physical injury/torn clothes or damaged property
Stress/distress – may affect sleep or eating patterns
Extreme anxiety/panic attacks,
Home should be a safe place away from bullying
and harassment occurring in a social context
Through the use of technology bullying behaviour
is no longer restricted to the school yard
It is often by phone or online
and out of sight and earshot of both teachers and parents
(Cyber) Bullying is…….
Repeated over time (?)
A power imbalance
The targeted person feels socially excluded
Used to upset people
Methods of cyber-bullying
X box live or Play Station network
Instant messaging / MSN
Social networking sites
Video sharing websites (YouTube)
Types of cyber-bullying
“Harassment”: Repeatedly sending offensive, rude, and
“Cyber Stalking”: Repeatedly sending messages that include
threats of harm or are highly intimidating and make a
person afraid for his or her own safety
“Denigration”: ‘Dissing’ - circulating cruel gossip or rumours
about a student to damage his or her reputation or
“Outing and Trickery”: Tricking someone into revealing
secret or embarrassing information which is then shared
Types of cyber-bullying
“Flaming”: Online fights using electronic messages with
angry and vulgar language
“Impersonation”: Pretending to be someone else and sending
or posting material online that makes someone look bad,
gets her/him in trouble or danger, or damages her/his
reputation or friendships
“Exclusion”: Intentionally excluding someone from an on-
line group, like a ‘buddy list’
People who behave like this….
Think it’s “funny”
Don’t think it’s a big deal
Are encouraged by friends (get swept along)
Don’t think about consequences
Think “everybody” behaves like this
Think they won’t or can’t get caught
“Everyone does it”
“We’re only playing/messing”
“He’s my friend”!!!!!!!!!!!!
One of the most threatening aspects of being the
target of Cyber Bullying is that
you can’t see the person who is bullying you and
often you don’t even know who it is.
Parents’ role in preparing their
children for the on-line world
Set down family rules.
Give advice for preventing and responding to
bullying - and the reasons why?
Steps to prevent cyber-bullying
Be careful when posting pictures of yourself.
Private /Personal information on line..
Worries or anxieties you have
You may not really know
how private your online conversation is
with whom you are sharing them
There may be some who have access to your
conversations who are not your friends and . . .
who will share your information with THEIR
friends . .
These in turn, may share them with their friends . . .
who do not even know you and . . .
These others may share them with their friends . . .
Parents' advice to their children as to
what they can do
Bullying on the phone…..
Never reply to bullying or harassment by phone
Put yourself in control - store the messages as
Block the sender - phone networks allow you to do
Tell someone you trust that the bullying is going on
If it continues….
If the Cyber Bullying continues, report the problem
to the school and/or depending on severity, the
Even if the sender’s number is hidden the exact time
and date are attached to messages and enable the
Gardaí to check with the service provider and
trace the sender of the message
Responding to online Bullying
Never reply to online bullying or harassment
Put yourself in control - store and print out messages and
keep them as evidence, noting exact time and date if
Block communication with the person who is bullying :
(a) by email, by adding her/him to your “blocked list”
(b) on social networking sites (e.g. Facebook) by
(i) reporting the bullying to the site
(ii) changing your privacy settings to exclude
If Cyber Bullying continues, report the problem to
parents/teachers and depending on severity, the Gardaí
Attitude is everything!
(or a large part of it)
Research shows that those who Cyber Bully are
often the same people who bully people directly
One of the biggest drawbacks of online
communication is the inability to recognise when
“the line” has been crossed. Those who engage in
online banter may become de-sensitised to the
harm they are causing others and enjoy the thrill
of the descent into serious and destructive
Challenging the attitudes that drive the behaviour
- Why do we do these things?
“It’s fun” - “For Whom?”
“Everyone does it” - “Everyone?”
“He’s annoying” - “He is not his behaviour!”
“We’re only playing/messing” - “Playing with him or
using him as a plaything?”
“He’s my friend”- If that’s how you treat your friends…
There are no excuses
Encourage your children …
To support their friends in a positive way
To refuse to pass along Cyber Bullying messages,
even if asked to do so
To not text, email, blog or communicate in any other
way when angry or upset.
To maintain friendships off line in order to help stop
Bystanders to (cyber) bullying
One of the most important steps to be taken to
combat (cyber) bullying will be empowering
Why should they act?
Frequently, the only people who know that a student
is being victimized are other students.
Students who are being victimized often do not tell
adults for many reasons:
Think its their fault
Fear consequences ……….
Students who report that such (cyber) bullying is
occurring may literally be saving the life of another
The Internet holds tremendous promise for creating a
better world –
a more peaceful and respectful world.
But this world cannot be created through laws or
through technology protection measures. We have
to focus on empowering our
young people with the values, skills, and motivation
to make safe and responsible choices in their
(Willard N, M.S., J.D., Director Center for Safe and Responsible Internet