Students from eight secondary schools around Ireland were at Facebook’s International Headquarters in Dublin yesterday to receive awards for their winning entries to the TackleBullying.ie poster competition. Run by the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at Dublin City University, the event was held to mark Safer Internet Day, which promotes a safer internet for all users.
The competition works to raise awareness of www.tacklebullying.ie, an anti-bullying website with students designing posters around five central themes: combating bullying; promoting bystanders; combating cyberbullying; combating disablist bullying; and LGBT bullying.
Eleven winners were selected from over 250 entries, with three individuals being named overall category prize-winners. The category winners came from Celbridge, Co Kildare; Ennistymon, Co. Clare; and Lucan, Co. Dublin. All the finalists’ posters have been made available to download via TackleBullying.ie and can be used as a resource in classrooms around Ireland.
Speaking at the event, Head of Public Policy for Facebook Ireland, Niamh Sweeney, said,
“We are delighted to support the work of the National Anti-Bullying Centre today by hosting this event. Facebook has a huge responsibility when it comes to the safety of young people online, and it’s through partnerships like this that we can tackle the problem of cyberbullying together.
“We want everybody who uses Facebook – and young people in particular – to feel safe and supported when they connect online with their friends and family. And that’s why we are delighted to partner with the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at DCU to support this initiative which raises awareness and empowers young people to combat bullying.”
Director of the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre, Dr James O’Higgins Norman,
“The internet and social media provide great benefits to young people. Through social media young people can learn, be entertained, make friends, share and extend the boundaries of their world. Yet, just as there are dangers offline there are dangers and risks online but these should never be allowed to block out the benefits of internet and social media for young people.
We need to listen more to what young people tell us about their experiences online and not jump to easy solutions to complex problems. Parents are best placed to gradually induct their children into the benefits of the web and to prepare them to recognise and protect themselves from possible dangers.
This competition was one way for us to give young people an opportunity to play an important role in tackling bullying and to help their peers to stay safe online. We at the National Anti-Bullying Research & Resource Centre in DCU with support from our colleagues in the Department of Education & Skills host the national anti-bullying website www.tacklebullying.ie where the winning posters from this competition will be made available to schools and parents to help them to tackle bullying online and offline.”
Developed by the National Anti-Bullying Research and Resource Centre at Dublin City University on behalf of the Department of Education & Skills, TackleBullying.ie is an online resource for young people affected by bullying, parents and teachers. It offers a forum, supervised by trained moderators, in which teenagers can share their experiences with their peers or offer support to others. The site also contains useful information on the subject, such as tips on staying cyber-safe, and relevant newspaper articles which might be useful for school projects.
The competition was supported by Facebook Ireland, McAfee, O’Neills, ShoutOut, Education Publishing Company of Ireland and the Department of Education & Skills.