Programme Three: The bystanders - what can those looking on and not getting involved do to stop bullying?
Penny Marshall listens to a 15-year girl give her moving account of how cyber bullying has affected her life, and asks where the responsibility lies and how cyber bullying can be prevented.
"You start to believe that what they're saying is true. In school I knew who the bullies were and I could avoid them. On the internet I didn't know who was saying these things about me. They made a web page about me, saying really horrible stuff, and there were thousands of hits on the page. It felt like the world was against me. I couldn't even trust my friends anymore. No one was innocent. There was no escape."
John Quinn from Beatbullying believes that education in school is the key to cutting instances of bullying; that teaching children about the impact of bullying, and to foster greater peer support, will reduce the incidence of cyber bullying: "It isn't technology that's bullying people - it's people who are bullying people."
At the moment, the internet is largely self-regulating. Is this proving to be untenable as we hear more and more cases of cyber violence that drive children to take their own lives? Minister for Children, Kevin Brennan, explains what the government hope its new guidelines on cyber bullying will achieve, and what it plans to do if self-regulation by social networking sites, MSN and mobile phone companies fails to protect children.
For information on support groups see episode information for 24 and 25 September.
New guidance from the Department for Children, Schools and Families will give schools practical advice on preventing cyber bullying, as well as a short film exploring how cyber bullying starts and how schools, parents and pupils can take steps to prevent it. There will also be an online campaign which will feature on teen websites to persuade young people that passing on offensive texts and e-mails is playing a part in cyber bullying.
For more information on cyber bullying www.direct.gov.uk/cyberbullying
The full guidance can be found at the Teachernet website