Bernie Goldbach near The Rock | 433 words
OUR FOUR YEAR OLD photographer has a SIM-free Xperia handset so she can share photos with her grandparents and play Where's My Water in the back seat. We owe her some cyberbullying training because children as young as six have been victims of cyber-bullying, a psychology lecturer has warned.
In the Irish Times, Dr Stephen Minton, a psychology of education lecturer at Trinity College Dublin’s school of education, said he had come across cases of cyber-bullying among first-class pupils in primary school.
He questioned the giving of a mobile phone to a six or seven-year-old but said it wasn’t limited to phones. “In one of the other first-class cases, the problem came on a Nintendo DS,” he said. Players on the hand-held device were communicating via Bluetooth which gave rise to the bullying behaviour.
From an article in the Irish Times by Alison Healy:
“We’ve made progress in terms of mobile phone bullying, but devices are always coming along,” Dr Minton said. “It’s a consistently evolving problem and we do need to stay on top of it. That includes parents, the media, researchers and school communities and community gardaí.”
Dr Minton said at least one in seven post-primary children had experienced cyber-bullying while one in 11 admitted to having engaged in it. One in 10 primary school children was a victim of cyber-bullying, “but the last time we looked at mobile phone bullying at primary level was 2006 so you have to remember the exponential increase in mobile phones, so it’s probably worse”.
Dictating an age at which children should be given a mobile phone was “a fraught issue”, he said. “I wouldn’t set a strict age limit], but in terms of understanding all the safety issues around cyber-bullying and a child being able to really look after themselves, I’d say that it was a rare child who could do that at primary school.”
Dr Minton was involved in developing a free mobile phone safety app with Vodafone. SafetyNet can be downloaded on to android phones and allows the parent to block and allow certain numbers, remove the camera function, block access to certain apps and view blocked messages.
Dr Minton said text messages appeared to be the most common form of cyber-bullying, but parents were more concerned about Facebook. Mobile phones were being used to take photos and videos which were then posted on YouTube. Children engaging in bullying on Facebook posted nasty messages, excluded victims from their pages and encouraged others to join groups set up to ridicule someone.
Cyberbullying emerges as a discussion topic during every ICT in Education Conference in LIT-Thurles. This year's event, on Saturday, May 19, focuses on "Learning Spaces" and some of those spaces include handheld mobile technology.
Related links about ictedu:
Cyber-bullying victims as young as six (Alison Healy, IrishTimes.com)
Aggression and Cyberbullying: An International Comparison (education.com)