Conference targets cyber crime bullies

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Empowering young people to be responsible and switched-on digital citizens is the key priority for education policy and decision makers looking at ways to ensure young people are better protected from cyber-bullies.

That will be the message from Professor Tanya Byron, consultant clinical psychologist and one of the UK’s foremost experts on the digital behaviour of children and young people, when she addresses a conference later this month at Gateshead College.

Professor Tanya Byron said: “The conference will tackle a key issue that children and young people face as they increasingly engage with the internet and other digital channels.

“Cyber-bullying makes life a misery for victims. The key to tackling the issue is to provide teachers and others working with young people the skills and resources needed to educate and empower young people to manage the online world safely and responsibly for themselves and others.”

According to a 2009 study of 15,000 children by the National Centre for Social Research, cyber-bullying is now as common as name-calling among teenagers with some pupils reporting suffering from threats of violence and being ‘frozen out’ by friends.

It can also have a significant effect on learning potential - the report revealed that victims often gained lower grades than others who were never bullied and many dropped out of the education system at 16.

Gateshead College’s head of quality and innovation, Andrew Robson, said: “Internet safety is a huge issue. The conference will provide an opportunity to draw upon our own expertise and highlight to delegates the easy, cost effective and practical steps we’ve taken to promote safer use of the internet and ensure others can benefit from our experience before their own problems spiral out of control.”

Anyone looking for more information or to sign-up for the conference should contact Joanne Keighley at joanne.keighley