A COUNCILLOR has suggested that the novel ‘Asking For It’ by Clonakilty author Louise O’Neill should be part of the school curriculum to highlight the consequences of social media in relation to cyberbullying
Cllr Rachel McCarthy (SF) was responding to a motion proposed by Midleton-based Cllr Noel Collins who called for legislation to be updated to tackle the ongoing problem of cyberbullying.
Cllr McCarthy said that as a mother of two teenagers, she is well aware of the impact of social media and that any issue at school is no longer left at school, but continues on at home.
‘I would recommend everyone to read Louise O’Neill’s novel Asking for It and it should be part of the school curriculum, as it deals with the consequences of social media,’ said Cllr McCarthy.
Cllr Collins said the greatest gift to cyberbullies is anonymity.
‘It almost becomes recreational for some bullies and it is in the interest of all of us to identify abusers and it’s not plausible to say that they were only joking,’ said Cllr Collins.
‘In public life I take the rough with the smooth and as such it has prepared me to distinguish the sheep from the goats, and bullies hide behind bluster and bravado and it comes from low esteem,’ he added.
Cllr Collins appealed for both the Ministers for Education and Justice to update legislation that would be effective in ‘stemming the advance of this sickening trend.’
Cllr James O’Donovan said he 100% supported Cllr Collins’ motion and said the issue ‘has become an absolutely frightening situation over the last number of years.’
‘Social media like Facebook and Instagram are prime playing fields for bullies and it’s so easy for these keyboard warriors to cut a person in half. It has to be looked at, at the top level as it’s only going to get worse,’ said Cllr O’ Donovan.
Cllr John O’Sullivan (FG) said the bullying now goes into the bedroom on phones for some young people.
Cllr June Murphy (Ind) said her own experience with bullying was no secret and added that it’s a very hard thing to manage. ‘I definitely support this motion but the main problem I’ve found is that schools and businesses don’t do enough. It’s a very silent killer here in Ireland and unless we have leaders who are serious about it, nothing will ever change,’ said Cllr Murphy.
‘If you are really serious about it, you have to take the courageous steps and unless we see meaningful action, I don’t think it will change. It’s simply not good enough and the effects of bullying leave a legacy that lives on for a long time.’County Mayor Cllr Declan Hurley said that all members stand united against cyber bullying and pointed out that as public representatives they have also been subject to it. He complimented Cllr Collins for his motion and said they would write to both Ministers on the issue.