Cases of internet cyber bullying almost double in East Sussex

7:10pm Wednesday 5th December 2012

The number of children being bullied via the internet has soared.

Since 2008 nearly double the number of youngsters at schools in East Sussex have reported being cyber bullied on sites including Twitter, Bebo and Facebook.

That year, 125 children in the county reported being tormented online. By 2012, the figure reached 225.

Brighton and Hove City Council and West Sussex County Councils said they did not collate such figures.

Yesterday (December 4) East Sussex County Council said it took cyber bullying hugely seriously.

A spokesman said: “East Sussex County Council takes the issue of bullying extremely seriously and it has absolutely no place, in any shape or form, in our schools or in the wider community.”

The council said it had drawn up an anti-bullying strategy which covers all aspects of bullying, including cyber bullying.

'Addressing issues'

The spokesman added that the yearly survey helped the authority identify “trends and issues to address”.

He said: “There’s no doubt that the internet and social media, as well as opening up a world of learning opportunities for our young people, can also expose them to risk.

“We are fully committed to keeping children safe when they are in school and educating them to be so when they are not.

“We provide a range of advice and guidance to schools on safe use of the internet and e-safety, and offer e-safety courses for schools and parents.

“Cyber-safety was the main theme of a conference organised by young people that we supported during Anti-Bullying Week last month.”

Cybersmile charity

While the number of cyber bullying incidents in 2012 was up on the figure for 2008, 2011 saw 251 in total.

Earlier this year, The Argus revealed how Poppy Freeman was forced to leave Hove Park School and then Cardinal Newman School after a minor falling-out with other children led to death threats being posted on social networking website Facebook.

Scott Freeman, her father, who lives in Brighton, set up a cyber bullying charity following this because he feels police and schools “simply do not do enough” to support victims.

The Cybersmile group has been campaigning for specific Government legislation to outlaw cyber bullying and will provide information, guidance and advice to people of all ages who are concerned about online safety.

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