Cyber bullying workshops will provide crucial support to parents

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire TD, Mary Mitchell O’Connor TD, has today (Thursday) welcomed the announcement that additional Government funding of €55,000 is being provided to support the delivery of anti-bullying training sessions for parents in 2014. This is on top of the €60,000 announced earlier this year and brings the 2014 allocation to a total of €115,000. Deputy Mitchell O’Connor has been a strong anti-cyber bullying advocate and chaired the first ever Irish cyber bullying conference last week.

The Anti-Bullying Parent Training Programme is being run jointly by the National Parents Council Primary (NPC-P) and the National Parents Council Post Primary (NPC-PP) to support the implementation of the Action Plan on Bullying which called for training and resources for parents and boards of management.

“I very much welcome that the Government is providing guidance to parents on how to identify and prevent cyber bullying and support children who are victims of it.

“At the core of this issue is the emotional and psychological damage that bullying is inflicting on thousands of our young people. Successive research shows that bullying affects the development of young people in terms of their self-esteem and even their mental health. Tragically, bullying can also lead or contribute to suicide.

“There is an onus on parents to be aware of their children’s online activity and this course will help them in that regard. Parents are often best placed to detect whether their children are the victims or perpetrators of bullying. This scheme will give parents a greater understanding of cyber bullying and will help them identify this type of bullying and support their children.

“In 2013, funding of €60,000 supported the delivery of 105 anti-bullying parent training sessions to 3,279 parents nationwide. It is expected that the funding in 2014 will allow more than 200 sessions to be organised throughout the country.

“The feedback from parents who have partaken in the sessions is extremely positive. Many said that they felt that the training had given them more confidence in supporting their child with a bullying issue and in engaging with their school if a bullying incident arose.

“There is huge demand for this type of training among parents, many of whom are not familiar with social media where much cyber bullying takes place. I have spoken to many parents who are perturbed by the issue of cyber bullying but have up to this point felt underequipped in how to deal with it. It makes sense to support parents to help their children in dealing with this increasingly important issue.

“I commend Minister Jan O’Sullivan for prioritising this issue and I also want to congratulate the National Parents Councils which has developed an information leaflet for parents who attend the sessions which can be downloaded from their websites.”

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