stopping the cyber bullies

A survey by a Keighley e-learning company has revealed nearly two-thirds of primary school teachers don’t know how to stop children using social networking sites.

And 30 per cent of respondents felt they had received inadequate training in how to deal with cyber-bullying.

The research – commissioned by Webanywhere, based in Lawkholme Lane – also found more than half of teachers were aware of at least one pupil being a victim of online bullies.

Sean Gilligan, owner of Webanywhere, said: “We regularly run free e-safety events around the country for primary schools, but we wanted to better understand the challenges teachers face when it comes to cyber-bullying, safeguarding and social networking.

“We were surprised to find many teachers feel less prepared for the digital revolution and protecting children online than we expected. We hope to see this change as more schools get online and, with our help, become tech-savvy.”

John Carr, of the UK Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety, said: “This survey shows too many teachers do not feel they have been given proper support to enable them to do their job. That has to be fixed, as a matter of priority.”

But Keighley district schools say e-safety is taken extremely seriously.

Nicola Bennett, assistant headteacher at Crossflatts Primary School, said: “We ensure our staff are highly trained to recognise and deal with cyber-bullying by making sure our children and parents are educated in the risks a modern-day child is exposed to when online.”

But she added it was “very difficult” to influence a child’s use of social networking sites outside of school.

Haworth Primary School said e-safety is central to its teaching.

A spokesman added: “The staff have regular training to keep us updated, so we can support the children. We also hold information evenings for parents, as this is an issue for the whole family.

“We believe knowing how to be safe when using the internet is one of the most important skills we can give our children.

“We also work to develop awareness of cyber-bullying, in its various forms across the media. We advise our children about ways to take action to prevent it and, if they are concerned, how to report it to an adult and deal with the issues that arise.”

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