Parents urged for Anti-Bullying Week: ‘It’s time to teach your kids Internet Manners’

A third of secondary schools pupils regret what they’ve said online, according to new survey

  • Top tips released for parents on how to equip their children with the right internet manners and teach them the digital Ps & Qs
  • Mum of schoolgirl who was bullied online says children should be taught about the potentially hurtful effects of what they post on the web

London, 10 November 2015. Internet Matters today launches a new campaign to support National Anti-Bullying Week – equipping parents with tips and advice on how to teach their children ‘Internet Manners’ and bring them up to be good digital citizens.

The not-for-profit organisation – set up by the UK’s biggest internet companies BT, Sky, TalkTalk and Virgin Media – is urging parents to explain to their kids the consequences of what they post online.

It comes as research* of over 7,000 school age children, shows how (30%) of secondary school pupils admit they regret things they have said online.

Children can often find it too easy to leave cruel comments online which can seriously hurt the person at the receiving end.

This year’s National Anti-Bullying Week, which starts on the 16th of November, aims to ‘make some noise about bullying’ and to support the campaign, Internet Matters is focussing on how parents can equip their kids with the tools they need to prevent cyber-bullying.

Sarah Jones** is a mum whose 12-year-old daughter was so badly bullied online that she had to call the police.

She said: “I don’t think the children who were bullying my daughter really understood the consequences of what they were saying. It started when a girl said she’d be waiting for my daughter at the school gates ready to beat her up. My daughter had never met this girl before and didn’t know who she was. However, she was egged on by a group of other girls online, including some who went to my daughter’s school. It was devastating for her. The fact the comments were made while my daughter was on the computer in our own house made it feel so invasive.”

Sarah added: “My daughter came to me in tears, showing me the messages online. She was terrified and said she was too scared to go to school the next day.

“I reported it to the police and the school. I also approached the mother of the girl who had posted this online and suggested she explained to her daughter the damage that one threatening post on social media had on a 12 year-old-girl.

“The girl said she had no intention of beating my daughter up – it was just something she’d said online but not meant. But for my daughter it was very real.”

Sarah says this is typical of children posting messages without thinking about the consequences

She said: “This is an example of something that’s happening to so many children all over the country on a daily basis. It’s vital now, with so many kids using social media, for parents to educate them into thinking before they post. We talk about bullying at school all the time but bullying online, once the school gates have shut for the day, is just as crucial.”

Carolyn Bunting, General Manager at Internet Matters, commented: “When it comes to teaching good digital citizenship to children, it isn’t as simple as ‘please’ and ’thank you’. With children spending more time than ever online, they need to learn to think critically about the content they are posting and sharing, and the impact it may have on others. Our guide helps parents start a conversation about this important issue, as less hurtful comments online means less cyberbullying victims. ”

The guide available here featuring 12 Internet Manners include:

  1. Treat others how you would like to be treated
  2. If you wouldn’t say it to someone in person, don’t say it online
  3. People can’t see your body language, facial expressions or hear the tone of your voice online so don’t over-use icons and punctuation to convey meaning
  4. Don’t make a situation worse by provoking people even more
  5. Don’t start rumours or spread gossip about someone online
  6. Don’t make fun of someone in an online chat
  7. Post things that will inspire and motivate people in a positive way
  8. Make sure you don’t create a negative environment in an online world or game through name-calling
  9. You can’t retrieve material once it’s sent or posted online, so if it might embarrass you or someone else don’t put it online
  10. Include people in online games and social forums and don’t intentionally leave people out
  11. Respect other people’s privacy

Respect your friends’ time online by not bombarding them with information

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