Mary Michell OConnor Cyberbullying conference

Mary Mitchell O’Connor and Dun Laoghaire IADT bring experts together to address cyberbullying

Fine Gael Dun Laoghaire Deputy, Mary Mitchell O’Connor, in conjunction with the Dun Laoghaire Institute of Art Design and Technology (IADT) brought a range of national and international experts together on Saturday 23rd March to address the issue of cyberbullying at a conference entitled ‘Dealing With Cyberbullying: A Practical Approach’.

“The prevalence of cyberbullying and the affect is having on our young people especially cannot be ignored. Computer technology is the source of so much good in our lives and we must encourage the positive use of social media, in particular, so that young and old can continue have their lives enriched through the constructive use of computers.

“I, together with the IADT, co-hosted the Dealing With Cyberbullying: A Practical Approach Conference with a view to bringing a number of national and international experts together to examine the best way forward in dealing with this issue. The conference was targeted at second level schools and those dealing with young people and aimed to provide advice and support on cyberbullying and related issues.

“The topics for consideration at the one day conference centred around the European guidelines for preventing cyberbullying in the school environment; homophobic bullying, which the Government has been attempting to address in recent months; and the role of bystanders in combatting cyberbullying. Speakers will also look at the issue of sexting and the grooming of children online.

“We all have a role to play in stamping out this harmful practice. Children are sensitive enough when growing up without dealing with online harassment and all that goes with it. Parents, school and community organisations need to inform themselves about the best ways of protecting our children online and we need to teach them how, in turn, to behave when using social media.

“I found it very interesting to hear the contributors to the conference who were drawing on the most up-to-date research in this field. If we all work together and take the necessary steps we can eradicate cyberbullying. Getting the message out there that we will not stand idly by and let this intimidation go unchecked is key, this conference is a step in that direction.”

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