School forum tackles online bullying

THE federal government plans to create a policy that will help protect children and teenagers from the risks of cyberbullying and educate parents about keeping up with technology.

An online safety forum was held at Penrith Anglican College last week for students, parents and teachers.

It was attended by Senator Marise Payne, Bradfield MP Paul Fletcher, Lindsay Liberal candidate Fiona Scott and principals from Colyton, Glenmore Park and Mount Druitt high schools.

Mr Fletcher said young people don't understand the consequences of their actions or the risks of using social media.

"The explosion of the internet and social media has made it easier for bullies to victimise students by posting inappropriate footage on Facebook or YouTube," he said.

"If they do or say something foolish and post it online, they can damage their prospects of getting a job."

He also said the government was working on a policy that would help re-educate parents.

"Parents need to understand that their children are at risk when they use Facebook," Mr Fletcher said.

"There are more cases of paedophilia and stalking, and cases of young people committing suicide because of online bullying."

One teacher agreed, saying parents should be educated about cyberbullying, and try to keep up with technology at home.

"Kids are growing up into this online world," the teacher said.

"They are learning so quickly that there's a lack of knowledge among parents.

"We need to do something."

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