Suffolk: Expert says more must be done to stop cyber bullying

Dr Emma Bond, UCS, expert on cyber bullying

Dr Emma Bond, UCS, expert on cyber bullying - Credit: Archant

Cyber bullying is out of control and more must be done to combat the issue, a lecturer at University Campus Suffolk said today.

Dr Emma Bond, deputy director of the Institute for Social Educational and Enterprise Development and a senior lecturer at UCS, spoke out following the suicide of 14-year-old Leicestershire schoolgirl Hannah Smith who had been bullied on a social networking site.

In Suffolk, police say there has been an increase in the number of social media-related offences.

Dr Bond, joint author of a report published earlier this year called the Suffolk Cybersurvey, said it was important youngsters reported online abuse.

“We need to talk to children and young people about cyber bullying to tell them it is never acceptable and if it is not dealt with it will escalate.

“If people know someone who is being cyber bullied, they should not just stand by, it should be reported. Suffolk police deal with reports of this kind very well.

“People have the right to use the internet without harassment. If you were abused in the street, you would not put up with it so why should you tolerate it online? Cyber bullying is almost out of control.”

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Dr Bond’s survey of 2,838 10 to 18-year-olds revealed access to internet-enabled smartphones and tablets nearly doubled since 2012. It showed one in five youngsters had fallen victims into bullies online, and only 52% had sought to help to stop it.

The statistics also showed that girls were more likely to be bullied by text or social media, and boys were more likely to be bullied in chatrooms or gaming sites.

Suffolk police have seen a rise in the number of offences related to social media.

Detective Inspector Tonya Antonis said: “We are seeing an increase in the number of reported offences where social media sites are referred to. Any form of harassment either online or in person can be very distressing for the people concerned and we take all reports of this nature seriously.

“We would urge anyone who is a victim of cyber bullying to report it. Most social networking sites have an area where you can report cyber bullying or harassment and calls can be made to Suffolk Police on 101.”