Online bullying investigation launched

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Respectme is to carry out Scotland's first investigation into young people's experiences of online bullying.

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7th March 2014 by Susan Smith 0 Comments

Many young people do not consider online insults to be the same as bullying in person and we must be clear that online abuse can be just as devastating - Alasdair Allan

The problem of online bullying in Scotland is to be the focus of an investigation by Respectme, Scotland's national bullying service.

The body, which is supported by LGBT Youth Scotland and the Scottish Association of Mental Health, is to carry out Scotland’s first formal piece of research into young people’s experiences of online bullying.

The research, which is being funded by the Scottish Government, will identify how bullying and online bullying overlap and look at what the most effective solutions are.

This investigation builds on respectme’s existing work with councils across Scotland to build confidence and capacity to tackle bullying.

Brian Donnelly, director of Respectme, said: “We are delighted to be undertaking this research as part of our ongoing and successful partnership with the Scottish Government.

“This research will enable us to help parents and professionals get a clear national picture of how young people are experiencing bullying in 2014.

"Crucially this will support and influence effective responses that recognise relationships play out on line and face to face more than ever.”

Minister for learning Alasdair Allan met with pupils and staff at Preston Street Primary School in Edinburgh to launch the project and talk about how they stay safe online.

Dr Allan said: “Online bullying – like all forms of abuse – is utterly unacceptable. It does however, present new challenges to the traditional ways we would recommend dealing with the situation. Whether we like it or not, many young people do not consider online insults to be the same as bullying in person and we must be clear that online abuse can be just as devastating as any other form of attack.

“This research, the first of its kind in Scotland, will help us protect people from online bullying. It will help us see where there is overlap between face-to-face abuse and online attacks. Importantly, it will also give us an accurate picture of how young people and their families are affected and how we can best support them.”