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Help & Hints On Cyber-Bullying
Convictions for trolling - someone who posts inflammatory messages such as a forum, chat room, or blog, with the primary intent of provoking readers into an emotional response - have risen by 150 percent in the last 4-years.
Many celebrities have become victims including Plymouth's teenage diving sensation and Olympic bronze medallist Tom Daley.
But, everday on the internet school children in Devon are leaving themselves open to online bullying, grooming and abuse.
More worringly, children as young as 14 have been known to set up 'imposter' acounts or make allegations and Tweet sexual messages which have seen teachers suspended pending full investigations.
Laura Higgins is the manager of http://www.saferinternet.org.uk/ a free E-Safety Helpline for Professionals, and has seen bullying and abuse evolve on the internet.
She showed me a few websites that are commonly used by children - known as anonymous posting forums - You can go on there and ask anyone any question, there are no limits.
We clicked on two profiles a girl and a boy from Exeter, within 30 seconds we found sexual explicit posts, posts about suicide and self-harm and posts asking them to 'hate' various individuals from other parts of the UK.
But more alarming was the fact that these 2 examples the school children had divulged personal information identifying their school and more personal information.
The UK Safer Internet Centre also provides help and advice to professionals who are victims of bullying, again mainly via social networking sites, from pupils or even parents that have set-up closed groups talking about teachers or head teachers.
Where possible, queries will be responded to within 3 hours (during the office opening hours).
More complex issues may take longer to fully resolve, and Helpline staff will keep service users updated throughout the process.
It is primarily a signposting, advice, and mediation service, any urgent risk to children should be dealt with via normal safeguarding procedures.
Due to the nature of the service, confidentiality cannot be guaranteed, we will endeavor to protect anonymity where possible and will discuss beforehand if we need to share information with other relevant agencies.
The Helplines hours of operation are Monday to Friday, 10am to 4pm. The Helpline can be emailed at any time, and these will be responded to during our normal working hours.
The Helpline is an Associate Member of The Helplines Assocation, and the Anti Bullying Alliance.
The UK Safer Internet Centre is also a member of the UK Council for Child Internet Safety (UKCCIS).
TEL: 0844 381 4772
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