BY JACKIE KEOGH
A NATIONAL anti-bullying co-ordinator has called on parents to provide their children with support, boundaries and guidance for the internet.
Sinead McKee, who is the national anti-bullying co-ordinator with the Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, made the call during a talk on the subject of Cyber Bullying at The Westlodge Hotel in Bantry recently.
Ms McKee said parents need to be vigilant and know what social media platforms their children are using, and she urged them to ask questions, be interested in their children’s internet activity, and to keep up to date with the new social media platforms.
The guest speaker also outlined the benefits of using the ISPCC’s Shield anti-bullying programme, which offers resources to schools, community groups and clubs to deal with bullying behaviour.
Cork South West TD, Michael Collins, who convened the public meeting, said he hoped that every school and club in West Cork would ‘implement this worthwhile programme.’
The TD, who also serves on the board of management of Schull National School, said: ‘Each and every one of us have experienced bullying in some form, either through being bullied ourselves, or witnessing bullying.’ But he maintained that with ‘knowledge and perseverance we can stamp out bullying’.
A member of the Bantry Bay Medical Centre told parents that signs their child is being bullied could include bedwetting, excessive weight gain or loss, headaches, abdominal pain, excessive sleeping, sleep disturbances and isolation.
Deputy Collins told those gathered that it was the song Goodnight – which was written by the local singer and songwriter Claire Hayden – that inspired him to organise the talk.
Claire, who works as a special needs assistant, also attended the talk and she advised parents about the kind of technology that they can use to limit their child’s use of the internet.
Claire urged parents to get children involved in activities like sports, music and drama. Claire Hayden and Becky Phillips, a 16-year old student from Colaiste Pobail Bheanntrai, performed the song, which has been released as a fundraiser for the BUMBLEance charity.