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Be Safe Online
BE SAFE ONLINE
INTRODUCTION TO SAFE USE <
GOLDEN RULES <
WORLD WIDE WEB <
PERSONAL WEBPAGES <
EMAIL <
CHAT <
INSTANT MESSAGING <
NEWSGROUPS <
FILE-SHARING <
SHOPPING ONLINE <
FILTERING SOFTWARE <
COMPUTER VIRUSES <
BULLYING ONLINE <
GLOSSARY <
DISCUSSION AREA <
YOUR OPINION <
CONTACT PARTNERS <
Learning and Teaching Scotland
Scottish Parent Teacher Council
Safer Internet Action Plan
Bullying Online
Father And Son Using Computer
What is bullying?
Bullying is a big concern for many parents and, if your child is distressed by any sort of bullying, then it should be taken seriously. Bullying is defined as persistent unwelcome behaviour and can include anything from teasing, deliberately ostracising someone to assaults and abuse. For more information on how to spot if your child is a victim of bullying go to the Scottish Anti-Bullying Network www.antibullying.net

Bullies will use many ways to get at their victims and the Internet gives them yet another method. This form of bullying is sometimes called cyber bullying and describes the misuse of email systems or the Internet for harassing people, such as by sending unpleasant or aggressive messages. Although this is a recent phenomenon and may not yet be taken seriously by everyone, bullying of all kinds is wrong and should be challenged. The good news is that there are some direct practical steps that you can take to help your child if they are a victim.

Bullying by email
Experts on bullying believe that many bullies tend to lack good communication skills and therefore the impersonal nature of email makes an ideal tool for them to victimise others. Unfortunately it is not immediately possible to check where an email has come from – you have to trust that the named writer is genuine. But it is not always wise to make this assumption. The best advice is
  • if a name is not familiar, it may be safer not to open the email
  • if the sender is a known bully or if they have sent unpleasant or annoying messages before, then ignore it and delete it straight away
  • if the bullying happens through a personal email account, report it to the sender’s email account provider – you can find this address after the @ sign
  • if it is not obvious who the sender is and there is continual bullying using email, then there are tools to trace senders. To find out more about this email tracking, go to one of the search engines, (e.g. Google, Yahoo, etc) and type in “email tracking software” - this software can then be downloaded. Once you know the identity of the bully, get in touch with your Internet Service Provider (ISP) who can then block the sender from your email.
  • if the email bullying is occurring in school, then this should be dealt with through the school’s anti-bullying policy.
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Bullying on the Internet
You may be aware of recent episodes where people have been victimised via websites – one incident involved pupils setting up an offensive website about their teachers. Of course, the victim may not always be aware that these sites exist. However, if your child realises that they have been bullied in this way, then the first course of action is to contact your ISP. They can find out who runs the site and can request that it is removed. If the person responsible is at school with your child, then let the headteacher know. Any false accusations or anything on the website which you feel is breaking the law should be reported to the police.
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Text messages
Although this does not involve the Internet, it is worth mentioning that bullying can also be carried out using text messaging on mobile phones. Practical steps you can take include:

  • Encourage your son/daughter to tell you or another responsible adult if they receive unwelcome text messages.
  • Get your child to change their number or even get a new phone.
  • Advise your child to be careful about giving out their mobile number.
  • Send a text message yourself warning the bully that it is an offence to use the mobile phone in this way.
  • Trace the number and report the offender to the phone company.
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General Advice

  • Remember the Golden Rules.
  • Do not give out personal information too freely.
  • Always encourage your child to tell you of anything that upsets them.
  • Keep a record of all bullying incidences either by saving or printing emails.
  • If an email or text message is particularly disturbing or breaks the law, contact the police.
  • Check on your school’s anti-bullying policy and whether it addresses bullying using computers and mobile phones. If not, encourage them to look at this issue, if necessary with support from your PTA and School Board.
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Useful links
Advice and information on this issue can be found on the following websites:
 www.kidscape.org.uk
 www.childline.org.uk
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INTRODUCTION TO SAFE USE -- GOLDEN RULES --  WORLD WIDE WEB --  PERSONAL WEBPAGES -- EMAIL --  CHAT -- INSTANT MESSAGING -- NEWSGROUPS -- FILE-SHARING -- SHOPPING ONLINE -- FILTERING SOFTWARE -- COMPUTER VIRUSES -- BULLYING ONLINE -- GLOSSARY -- DISCUSSION AREA -- YOUR OPINION -- CONTACT PARTNERS