Local MP David Simpson has vowed to raise the issue of cyber-bullying at the highest levels of UK Government, following the distress caused by a noxious Facebook page targeting Banbridge teenagers.
The Leader first highlighted the problem last year when a distraught mother found the courage to speak out, and now, acting on her call we have approached politicians to take action.
“I want to commend this mother on her campaign to date and I will be meeting with her later this week to drive this campaign forward,” said Mr Simpson.
“I have tabled a written question to the Cabinet Office in Westminster to seek their intervention on this harrowing situation.”
Warning that cyber-bullying is a dramatically growing trend and not just a passing phase, Mr Simpson continued: “I am disgusted to learn of the recent comments posted on Facebook towards our young people. These comments were made with the intention to deliberately victimise and damage the mindsets of our young people.
“I will continue in my calls to the Government to prioritise the development of a strategy to educate both parents and children about the
dangers of cyber-bullying. It is seriously damaging young people’s self-esteem and future prospects and having a negative impact on their performance at school and their health.
“It will continue to grow if we do not act fast. Work needs to be done to make ways of reporting such hate crimes more accessible. Children, young people and the vulnerable need to know that when they require help, support is already in place for them.”
Mr Simpson previously delivered a debate on cyber-bullying in the House of Commons in December 2013, and has worked with post Primary children on a cyber-bullying forum where discussions took place on how the young people felt our politicians could deal with the issue.
MLA Jo-Anne Dobson, who has been working with distressed parents and Banbridge PSNI, also agreed to push for action at Stormont.
“I have raised the issue of cyber-bullying and the misuse of social media at Stormont and will be once again requesting urgent action from the responsible Department, OFMDFM,” said Mrs Dobson.
“I had been contacted by many concerned parents who have been left frankly disgusted.
(See page 7 for full report)