Safer Internet Day takes place on February 5

The Irish campaign aims to change attitudes of bystanders to encourage positive intervention in cyberbullying situations.

The Irish campaign aims to change attitudes of bystanders to encourage positive intervention in cyberbullying situations.

A new teenage cyberbullying awareness campaign will be launched in February to mark the global internet safety initiative, Safer Internet Day.

Taking place on Tuesday 5th February 2013, Safer Internet Day will mark its tenth year in existence.

And to celebrate the event, Webwise Ireland, the Irish internet safety awareness raising organisation, will launch its cyberbullying campaign.

Its aim is to change the attitude of bystanders to encourage them to intervene positively if they witness online bullying situations.

Safer Internet Day is organized in Ireland by Webwise and aims to educate and raise awareness about protecting children online, so that they can responsibly enjoy the benefits of the internet, without compromising their safety and privacy.

As part of Safer Internet Day effort, An Garda Síochána will also launch a new module of the Garda Schools Programme dealing with a range of internet safety issues – including cyberbullying - in post-primary schools.

Members of An Garda Síochána will deliver talks in schools throughout the country during the month of February.

Simon Grehan, the Webwise Project Coordinator, said:

“We have decided to address the issue of cyberbullying, with a focus on the attitudes of bystanders, with secondary school pupils in Ireland as our contribution to this year’s Safer Internet Day because whether they intend to or not, bystanders passively accept bullying by watching and doing nothing and can often contribute to the problem.”

He added:

“Our goal is to educate teens to become helpful bystanders by showing them the different ways bystanders can make a difference such as by showing solidarity with the victim, by letting them know that they will be supported, if and when they step forward, and by sharing useful advice on how to cope with these situations.”

Today’s teens use technology more than ever before. Most have high-speed internet access, mobile phones and portable devices, which they use to send instant messages to their friends, keep personal profiles on social media websites, share photos, and more.

Unfortunately, this technology has allowed some teens to take the bullying online. However, as well as the bully and the victim, bystanders play a role too and it’s important that they are encouraged to intervene should they witness a situation.

Webwise will run an awareness campaign to promote Safer Internet Day 2013 with online content, school-based events and traditional media elements. Key campaign elements include:

Connect with Respect – An Garda Síochána will launch a new module of the Garda Schools Programme dealing with Cyberbullying in post-primary schools. Members of An Garda Síochána will deliver talks in schools throughout the country during the month of February promoting positive interventions by witnesses of online bullying and appropriate coping strategies for victims

‘It’s up to us’ video clip – Webwise have developed a broadcast video clip called ‘It’s up to us’. The clip will be used online and in broadcast media to promote the key campaign messages

‘Watch your Space’ website – Webwise have developed a ‘Watch your Space’ website. As well as featuring the ‘It’s up to us’ video clip, the site also has information and advice for secondary school students on coping with online bulling situations and facilitating positive intervention by bystanders. Check out www.watchyourspace.ie

‘Watch your Space’ social media – Webwise have developed a Facebook and Twitter presence to support the website - offering an additional outlet for teenagers to keep up to date with Safer Internet Day events and activities – Check out www.twitter.com/WatchYourSpace and www.facebook.com/WatchYourSpace

Safer Internet Day is co-funded by the Department of Education and Skills and the EU Safer Internet Programme. Partners include: Webwise, RTE Young Persons Programming, NPC Primary, NPC Post Primary, An Garda Síochána, Trend Micro, My Kids Time, SPHE Support Service (Post-primary), Belong, Spunout.

For further information, check out www.saferinternetday.ie