Internet: Bullying

Home Office written question – answered on 26th May 2016.

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Photo of Andrew Percy Andrew Percy Conservative, Brigg and Goole

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what discussions she has had with the Secretary of State for Education on tackling online abuse in schools.

Photo of Karen Bradley Karen Bradley The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for the Home Department

The UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS) is co-chaired by Ministers from Department for Education, Home Office and Department for Culture Media and Sport. This brings together industry, law enforcement, academia, charities and parenting groups to help to keep children and young people safe online. As part of this work, the UK’s Communications regulator, Ofcom, published best practice guidance for social media platforms to encourage responsible practice from industry in December 2015.

The Department for Education recognises that educating young people is key to tackling cyberbullying and protecting children from online abuse. All schools must have a behaviour policy which includes measures to prevent and tackle all forms of bullying, including cyberbullying. To help schools to develop effective measures the Department for Education has produced advice which provides a definition of cyberbullying and outlines the steps schools can take to deal with bullying.

Search powers included in the Education Act 2011 have given teachers stronger powers to tackle cyber-bullying (via text message or the internet) by providing a specific power to search for and, if necessary, delete inappropriate images (or files) on electronic devices, including mobile phones. The Department has also issued advice for parents and carers on cyberbullying which specifies the tell-tale signs that it is happening and includes advice on what do when it occurs.

The Government has invested £3.85 million in a new phase of our This is Abuse campaign, which tackles abuse within teenage relationships and was launched in March. The National Crime Agency’s Child Exploitation and Online Protection (CEOP) has developed a comprehensive education programme, called Thinkuknow, which provides targeted advice to children, parents and carers, including on how to use social media safely.

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