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Facebook bullying a problem for schools across Bournemouth and Poole
ABUSE of Facebook is one of the biggest causes of bullying in schools across Bournemouth and Poole.
Despite restrictions in the classroom, messages sent on home computers and on devices such as phones and iPads are causing more problems than ever before.
And youngsters are also risking their safety by giving too much personal information to strangers.
Now parents have been urged to keep a close eye on what their children are up to.
In a letter sent home to parents of Year 8 students at Poole Grammar School, Head of Year Keith McDonald, inset, said: “Misuse of Facebook is now the biggest cause of bullying that we have to deal with.”
And Alistair Brien, head of Bournemouth School for Girls, said: “Many children do not appreciate that a comment made in the heat of the moment cannot be simply retracted. We then have to pick up the aftermath in school.”
Mr Brien described Facebook as “a real issue” and said education surrounding it forms part of the school’s Personal, Social and Health Education programme.
And Mr McDonald warned that many students are accepting friend requests from people they don’t know.
“Some boys indicated that they had in excess of 300 ‘Friends’ on the Facebook account. They do this to look cool and popular in front of their mates but they are opening themselves up to considerable risk by accepting strangers who will then have access to their details,” he said.
Police advise parents to ensure they have access to their children’s Facebook accounts and to go through them with their children regularly, checking posts and who they are talking to.
Dr Dorian Lewis, head of Bournemouth School, said he believes cyberbullying is much more serious than face-to-face bullying.
“Those encountering cyberbullying may do so in isolation, possibly without the immediate support of family or friends. Contrast that to playground bullying where there are staff to intervene and friends to console.”
Dr Lewis added: “On occasions we have found that comments posted are at best ill-advised and at worst offensive.”
And he said students are often oblivious to the risks they may be exposing themselves to by putting information or images in the public domain.
Alison Shelton from interactive safety centre Streetwise added: “If young people come across anything that makes them feel uncomfortable they should tell an adult they can trust – a problem shared is a problem halved.”