The Department of Education and Children’s Youth Service led a focus group comprising students from the DEC’s five secondary schools, University College Isle of Man (UCM) and Café Laare.
This was after respondents to a Youth Survey – conducted on behalf of the partnership – voiced concern about bullying online.
The focus group carried out its own research among peers and recently met the Children’s Services Partnership to present its suggestions.
The students acknowledged the support they already receive and acknowledge that cyberbullying is taken seriously.
They said they would like to see:
· More hard-hitting and engaging education in schools on cyberbullying
· Additional emotional support in schools
· Further education for teachers on trends in, and perils of, online behaviour.
Emma Macaulay, Area Youth Worker with the DEC, said: ‘The Youth Survey, conducted by the Youth Trust, demonstrated that cyberbullying was worrying young people.
‘Cyberbullying is unique to this generation so it’s important that we listen to young people and understand the impact it has on them.
‘It is also important to let young people have input into how cyberbullying can be tackled so it has less of an impact on their lives.’
Emma continued: ‘Focus group members worked over several months, sharing experiences and considering how support meets their needs.
‘They highlighted the damaging psychological effects of cyberbullying, suggested teachers needed more training and support and advised that early invention was key to mitigating the effects of bullying, saving costs and problems down the line. Among their ideas was to increase the capacity of “listening services” in schools.
‘The group gave an excellent and engaging presentation and it was well received by the Children’s Services Partnership, which promised to look into the recommendations and invited the young people back to a meeting later this year for further conversations.’
Professor Ronald Barr, Chief Executive Officer of the Department of Education and Children and chairman of the Children’s Services Partnership, said: ‘Like more visible forms of bullying, cyberbullying can have a corrosive effect on young people and it is important we listen to them as we set about tackling it.’
The Children Services Partnership includes representatives of Government Departments that work with children, organisations providing care on their behalf and the voluntary/charitable sectors.
It works to ensure children grow up healthy and achieving, resilient against adversity, safe from harm and abuse and positively engaged.