Schools step up fight against web bullies and pervs

Cyber bullying
Cyber bullying
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Predatory paedophiles, trolls and cyber bullies are just a few of the new challenges facing our schoolchildren as they grow up.

And Bucks County Council is calling on schools to step up the fight, by having a dedicated cyber bullying champion.

Following a select committee report on child 
internet safety, the council is encouraging schools to train all members of staff in new technologies to make sure they stay ahead of the curve.

Val Letheren, of the education, skills and children’s services select committee, said: “We have all been sickened in recent times by the various high-profile sex and cyber bullying scandals that have emerged nationally, and we know police across the land are doing their utmost to protect young people.

“However, despite all of this our young are at risk as never before by a host of unknown dangers on the internet.”

She added: “What hit us most during our inquiry was the lack of knowledge of some parents and teachers on the issue.

“Some are simply unaware of just what their children are doing online, and it’s time we faced up to the enormity of this issue.”

The select committee interviewed a range of experts and local people during the inquiry, as well as all schools in Buckinghamshire.

It also took advice from Aylesbury-based internet security firm McAffe.

The main findings were that more parents, teachers and people who work with children need to realise that young people are more internet literate than ever before.

One case study was of a young boy who looked at a terrorism website and ended up unable to get a job, while other children took photographs of their parents undressing and posted them on the internet for all to see.

Mrs Letherin, who was the inquiry committee’s chair, added: “Children are risk 
takers, and many parents don’t understand the internet as well as their own sons and daughters.

“The internet can be a very useful tool, but we are 
encouraging everyone to learn more because at the moment it has spiralled out of control.”

KEY FACTS

Children as young as five are being given mobile phones by their parents.

In Buckinghamshire 11% of young people said they had been bullied online, but Mrs Letherin says the actual figure is much higher.

Taking, storing and sending indecent images of other youngsters could lead to prosecution.