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Cyber-bullying crusade gathers momentum

Wednesday, 12 July 2017

A CRUSADING Mourne mother has drafted the support of local politicians in her campaign to introduce measures in schools to prevent cyber-bullying.

The development comes after the mother's 14-year-old daughter cyber-bullied another child through Snapchat.

Snapchat is a mobile app that allows users to capture videos and pictures that delete after a few seconds.

The Mourne mother, who wished to remain anonymous to protect her daughter, was only made aware her girl was a cyberbully after the PSNI visited her home a month ago.

As a result of her daughter's actions, the mum banned her from using her mobile phone for 10 days and she is now not allowed it at school or in her bedroom at night time.

Since her shocking discovery, the mum has been campaigning tirelessly to create awareness of the potential dangers of cyber-bullying and has been working with Mourne Sinn Fein Councillor Sean Doran and South Down DUP MLA Jim Wells over the last few weeks.

She said: "We have all been working hard on this and they have both said they will fully support a measure that all schools in Northern Ireland show pupils This Morning's 'Be Kind' cyber-bullying video." 'Be Kind' is a nationwide campaign which hears from two mums whose children took their own lives as a result of the bullying they experienced.

The video encourages children to ask for help, for them to know someone cares and for them to know how important it is to be kind.

"Parents all like to think their children are innocent, however, if they have a mobile phone then they are capable of causing cyber-bullying," the mum said.

"I hope that by showing school children this video, it will open their eyes to their actions and what could potentially happen.

"I am happy and so grateful that the local councillors have come onboard with this and an anti-bullying strategy is a good idea for schools in Northern Ireland which will hopefully make them bully-proof." DUP MLA Jim Wells said: "I am more than happy to back this issue and I have spoken to this mother at length about this and I am certain that her experience is one shared by many parents in Northern Ireland.

"I think a solution to this problem is that there are more internet blocks which would mean that certain material is harder to access and there are more controls.

"It is very hard for parents to monitor what their children are doing online and there should be a shield around our young people to protect them from certain material and some of the stuff that is available to children is incredibly dangerous." Mr Wells says he intends to put pressure on the Assembly when it is running for the 'Be Kind' video to be shown in schools throughout Northern Ireland.

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