Think tank calls on government to take another look at cyberbullying

family life

The government should revive its previous efforts to tackle cyberbullying through “character education”, a think tank has claimed.

Former Education Secretary Nicky Morgan oversaw a previous initiative intended to encourage schoolchildren to improve their character and behave better while online.

Theresa May’s administration should now revisit the plans, political think thank Demos has claimed, providing funding for educational schemes designed to help children to understand the consequences of bullying and trolling on the internet. The call follows the publication of a recent poll in which more than a quarter of young people aged 16 to 18 admitted to having “bullied or insulted someone else” while online.

Remarkably, a huge majority – 93 per cent – of the self-confessed cyberbullies said they had themselves been harassed or abused online. Facebook and other social networking sites popular with young people should be involved in the campaigns Demos believes.

But any government intervention should not be too heavy-handed, Demos researcher Peter Harrison-Evans insisted.

“Our findings show that online social networking can clearly facilitate risky or negative behaviours among a substantial minority of young people. Despite this, we caution against an overly restrictive response, not least because this can be counterproductive – encouraging more covert risky behaviour or limiting engagement in the positive aspects of social media, such as relationship building, and political and civic engagement”

Photo by DaveLawler via Flickr

Stowe Family Law Web Team

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