Internet: Bullying

Department for Education written question – answered on 23rd February 2015.

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Photo of Jim Shannon Jim Shannon Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Health), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Transport), Shadow DUP Spokesperson (Human Rights)

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps her Department has taken to prevent cyber-bullying of teenage schoolchildren.

Photo of Nick Gibb Nick Gibb Minister of State (Education)

The Government believes that schools, internet providers and parents all have a role to play in keeping children and young people safe online.

All schools must have a behaviour policy with measures to tackle bullying, including cyberbullying, and they are held closely to account by Ofsted. The Department for Education has issued advice to schools on preventing and tackling bullying and on supporting bullied children which includes cyberbullying. We have also recently issued advice aimed at parents on how to keep children safe online, spot the signs that a child may be being cyberbullied and what to do if it happens.

In addition, e-safety is being taught at all four key stages of the curriculum and covers responsible, respectful and secure use of technology. Pupils are also taught age-appropriate ways of reporting any concerns they may have about what they see or encounter online.

The Department is also providing around £4 million in funding to various anti-bullying organisations, such as the Diana Award, Kidscape and the National Children's Bureau (NCB), who work in schools to combat bullying, including cyberbullying. The NCB has produced a guide for schools on preventing and tackling cyberbullying of children with a special educational need or disability who are especially vulnerable to this form of bullying.

Furthermore, we are currently considering bids through a £25 million voluntary and community sector grant programme to extend the work being undertaken by anti-bullying charities in schools. A £2 million grant is being offered in conjunction with the Government Equalities Office to support projects which tackle specifically homophobic, biphobic and transphobic bullying in schools.

More widely, the Government continues to work to protect children online through the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) which brings together representatives from government, industry, law enforcement, academia, charities and parenting groups.

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