Advanced search

My possible idea to tackle cyber-bullying- your thoughts

(26 Posts)
tasha777 Sun 11-Aug-13 16:18:56


I'm a local authority social worker working with children and young people. I had a story printed this week, under a pseudonym, in the Guardian about an idea I had to reduce UK cyber-bullying and its effects on young people.

The idea, is based around the thought that young people get caught up in the intensity of the digital world and the messaging, tweeting and commenting that comes with it and so we need to respond by offering support in that very same digital space, in order to try to disrupt the spiral they find themselves getting into.

In order to do this, I suggested creating a digital 'I'm being bullied' button for social media sites, that young people can press to be taken through to an immediate online counsellor - such as the one to one service which Childline offers, giving them a bit of reflection space to consider how best to deal with the bullying in the longer term.

Would love to know some of your thoughts on the idea and whether it could be helpful or not.

Thank you,
Pseudonym due to my profession - Danielle Adler

MultipleMama Wed 04-Sep-13 03:46:31

lljkk I agree.

It's just as easy to delete an account/block a user as it is to click an "I'm being bullied" button. Situations like the ones blasted on the news can easily be avoided by such methods. Don't blame the internet for things which are preventable already.

lljkk Sun 11-Aug-13 19:47:36

If they can click the "I'm being bullied" button why can't they click the "no anonymous messages" button on AskFM? As my dad once said about a hypothetical situation of sexual harrassment on Facebook, "My first thought was, Why can't he just stop going on Facebook?"

Seems to me the real problem is much more fundamental than lack of something to click.

Rhinosaurus Sun 11-Aug-13 19:38:33

You often find with "technical" people they are quite closed to new ideas coming from people they consider lay people. If it is possible to put a report post link on a forum like this, why not a panic button on a social media site?

Technology is constantly evolving, look at the Internet now compared to ten years ago - there are always solutions. I believe it would be possible to get the social media sites on board.

Yes, childline may already do something similar, but not every teenager considers themselves a "child". As I said something which would work with and engage this age group is important to consider.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Sun 11-Aug-13 17:35:25

So by that logic, no one non technical has any right to a view/opinion/suggestion on anything to do with the Internet?

Spottypurse Sun 11-Aug-13 17:32:44

How would you get around the jurisdictional issue? Facebook, for example, and the like, are mostly based in the US. Would the counsellors be based in the US? Or the UK? If they were going to be based in the UK, then what about children who weren't in the UK? How would that work? What about children who didn't speak English as their first language?

Tee2072 Sun 11-Aug-13 17:30:06

"the op is not attempting to make a personal gain from the post."

Oh. Really? Because it seems to me to the beginning of a business idea.

I think this, like so many things like it, i.e. Cameron's ISP blockage of porn, are being thought up by non-technical, non-qualified people who should talk to the people who actually know how to do it.

Not to some random non-technical people on the internet.

Except, of course, that I'm technical.

VeryHappyMama Sun 11-Aug-13 17:18:01

I agree as an idea it sounds good and having the option to click straight from the site the bullying is occurring on may encourage more young people to use it.

aturtlenamedmack Sun 11-Aug-13 17:15:51

I don't see what is wrong with posting here about it, the op is not attempting to make a personal gain from the post.
I think it's a good idea too, I think the idea of a panic button has been around for a while as have online councilling devices.
It seems like an excellent next step to combine the two.

Spottypurse Sun 11-Aug-13 17:08:32

Yes I get that. But why aren't Childline doing that already is my question? They already have all the resources etc in place in terms of counselling/CRB checks etc so why aren't they?

I guess it's a jurisdictional issue.

bunchamunchycrunchycarrots Sun 11-Aug-13 17:07:49

Tee I think if the idea has already featured in a news article then it's hardly likely to have been just a light bulb moment the OP had just before posting. Im sure there is no need to be so aggressive in your posts here. What exactly is wrong with someone posting here for feedback on something that's not likely to be a money spinner but appears to be a genuine attempt at dealing with the problem and effect of cyber bullying?

OP it sounds like a good idea in principle IMO. How it would work in reality is something I'm guessing you will need to work on, but as an idea it sounds positive and something worth considering/ looking into.

Rhinosaurus Sun 11-Aug-13 17:07:12

I think what she means is that she wants a highly visible panic button visible on the social media site when people are posting, not young people having to go to an external site.

Spottypurse Sun 11-Aug-13 17:05:35

I mean, Childline are doing one to one online counselling, there must be a jolly good reason why they aren't going down the "bully button" route, so wouldn't it save a lot of time, energy and hassle to just go and ask them?

Spottypurse Sun 11-Aug-13 17:04:25

I don't understand why you wouldn't just go and ask Childline? Because they are already doing this? I must be thick as mince.

Rhinosaurus Sun 11-Aug-13 17:01:49

Tee2072 - who better to ask than a forum consisting of mainly parents? It is hardly market research. With the tragic events in the media this past two weeks involving cyber bullying, I would say we need to encourage creative solutions that will actually work with that age group.

Spottypurse Sun 11-Aug-13 17:00:42

If a charity is already doing it, don't you think they'll have thought of expanding it? Why haven't they? If you know they're doing it already, why not just ask them?

Rhinosaurus Sun 11-Aug-13 16:58:53

It is really well used, we promote it in school assemblies and our secondary school drop ins. I get a lot of young people, I have to say it is predominantly girls, who come to see me about cyber bullying. I always take my laptop to drop in and go through the privacy settings with them. I also direct them to

A thing that is on the increase is that somebody will save down somebody else's photos, create a false Facebook account in that name, add friends who accept because they know the person. The fake account holder will then proceed to say really nasty things to somebody, make inflammatory comments or start a controversial argument, and the person whose identity has been stolen ends up isolated or being challenged/attacked for something they are not even aware of.

I think it is good to have a "panic" button, young people want things instantly - it is the age they have grown up in - click a button and its there. It could even be a multi agency funded idea, cyber bullying is everyone's business and a really growing problem that will eventually affect all our children.

Tee2072 Sun 11-Aug-13 16:55:03

Well, then take your idea to the charities. Not to a bunch of random people on MN, who, BTW, usually charge for this sort of market research.

I think you really haven't thought this through far enough to even ask your questions, TBH.

tasha777 Sun 11-Aug-13 16:51:22

Thanks, that's a really helpful reference point for me to look at.

Rhinosaurus Sun 11-Aug-13 16:48:18

I think it is a good idea. I am a school nurse and in my region there is a very successful online Counselling service for secondary school age children called - feedback shows that young people like it because it is a medium of communication they prefer, and they can talk to somebody instantly rather than wait a week. This is a service commissioned by the nhs. There is an extremely rigorous vetting progress for Counsellors. If an online counsellor assesses a face to face is needed then they refer to camhs, and contain the young person whilst awaiting an appointment.

I am sure with regards to funding the wealthy social media sites would contribute, they want to be seen to be helping solve the problem.

Anonymity is understandable for a social worker - as a health professional who works in child protection I would do the same.

tasha777 Sun 11-Aug-13 16:46:49

The reason I haven't used my full name is purely because I had the idea and got it printed in the Guardian where they also put a link to my blog and it's not appropriate to use my full name on that, where the young people I work with could read it.

I'm not writing a business proposal, or anything like that in terms of funding, I'm just considering at the very first stage, an idea. In terms of manning and funding, however - Childline already have a very similar online counselling service. Obviously they recruit and train volunteers, do CRB checks etc and this service already exists. I'm just thinking about whether a service like this, run through a registered charity, might be a possibility as an additional tool to support young people, in the exact moment that they might need support.

No there's no evidence as it hasn't been tried - as I said, it's literally just a thought I had, that I thought i'd get some opinions on - nothing fully developed in the slightest. However, it seems likely that it could be scarier to call up for help, than click a button, especially for young people used to using digital channels.

Spottypurse Sun 11-Aug-13 16:44:53

That's what I mean by qualifications Tee2072 - it's not just recruitment it's the on-goingness of it. Where is it likely to be based? Who is going to get the job of building the offices? What about if the website isn't based in the UK? What about if the young person isn't based in the UK?

Tee2072 Sun 11-Aug-13 16:43:02

And not just pay to staff it but to CRB the staff, train them etc etc etc.

Have you really thought this through beyond being anonymous about it?

Spottypurse Sun 11-Aug-13 16:37:08

What Tee2072 said. Who is going to pay for it? Who is going to man it and check the qualifications and so on of those who are administering it? Why won't you use your real name?

MrsHoarder Sun 11-Aug-13 16:35:00

Is there any evidence that children actually being bullied would be more likely to press it than ring childline?

Tee2072 Sun 11-Aug-13 16:30:29

Who would man them? Who would pay for it?

How do we know you're legitimate if you won't use your real name?

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now