As part of this year’s Anti-Bullying week, today marks the first ever Stop, Speak, Support - Anti-Cyberbullying Day.
The Irish FA is supporting Anti-Bullying Week 2018 by encouraging everyone involved in football clubs to choose to be respectful.
Throughout this week the Irish FA has been highlighting several steps you and your football club can take to challenge bullying behaviour and identify who you can report any concerns to.
Cyberbullying is an increasingly common form of bullying behaviour which happens on social networks, games and mobile phones. Technology allows cyberbullying to continue anywhere at any time – it is not limited to face to face contact during school hours, at sports club or the workplace. There are so many social media platforms that offer a level of anonymity for cyberbullying to continue to a much wider audience. Images, videos and messages can be shared on various platforms and message groups increasing the chance that others may get involved in the bullying behaviour.
The impact of cyberbullying can be equally, if not more damaging than traditional forms of bullying. Cyberbullying can leave people feeling vulnerable, isolated and paranoid. We can’t hear the comments that are being made or see the impact this is having on the person being bullied. As a result, we can be less sympathetic towards them an even less likely to intervene or do anything to help.
There are many ways we can be more responsible about our use of social media to reduce the risks to ourselves and others:
Top tips for safe use of social media for children and young people
- Only communicate with people you know – don’t accept friend/follow requests from people haven’t met or respond to any abusive messages/posts.
- Look through the privacy settings on all your social media profiles – this will allow you to limit access to your account and keep your images and videos private. Some platforms may require your permission to share your images and tag you in certain posts.
- Use the report mechanisms on your account if you have any concerns.
- Take care with the information you share – people may be able to locate you offline.
- Don’t say anything online that you wouldn’t say in person.
- Don’t share or comment on anything if it is likely to encourage bullying behaviour
- Allow your parents, or a trusted adult (coach, teacher, welfare officer) to have access to your social media account.
Top tips for parents
- Familiarise yourself with the various social media platforms that your children are using.
- Supervise your child’s internet use, limit the time they spend on devices and make sure they are removed from their bedroom during the night.
- Talk to your child about the risks of social media and let them know what you are worried about – it isn’t just being nosey!
- Be careful how you react – an over-reaction could be equally damaging as an under-reaction. Speak to someone before you take any action.
- Talk to your child’s school, sports club leaders or youth leaders if you are worried about anything.
Top tips for football clubs
- Supervise access to your club’s social media profiles and ensure all posts reflect the values and ethos of your club.