December 7 2013 Latest news:
Friday, October 18, 2013
A police officer has warned pupils about the dangers of social networking sites after revealing that cyber-bullying is the number one safety issue schools have to deal with.
Pc John Bolderstone, safer school partnership officer at the King’s Lynn Academy and the nearby King Edward VII School (KES), said: “The online world is going to get young people into more trouble than a good old scrap in the playground.”
The officer, who used to work in the Norfolk armed response unit, said pupils falling out over something posted on Facebook or Twitter happens at least two or three times per week.
“Falling out, which would happen face-to-face when I was at school, nowadays happens online,” he said.
“Young people can sit at home and post a comment about someone but never get their immediate reaction.”
The nature of online activity means that can soon escalate, with several people adding comments.
Since September, Pc Bolderstone has given a series of assemblies warning young people of the dangers of social networking in a bid to prevent incidents of abuse online.
“My word of advice is that if you would not be prepared to say to the person’s face what you’re about to type to them, don’t say it,” he said.
Similarly, he warned pupils not to post photos they would not be happy to see on every lamppost in their street.
He has also explained to pupils the “long-term consequences” of engaging in arguments online, as potential future employers might see their posts years down the line.
Pc Bolderstone also said that if he is shown a case of cyber-bullying, the culprits will be brought in and told the harsh reality of the law and how they might be punished as adults in the real world.
However, schools obviously do not monitor pupils’ social networking accounts, meaning Pc Bolderstone is reliant on people coming to him with information.
He encouraged not only victims to alert him to problems but also parents and those who might have seen a fellow pupil suffering.
The message seems to have reached some pupils.
KES pupil Marcus Rasberry, 13, said: “Pc Bolderstone talked about internet safety and it was quite useful for people who didn’t know the risks.” Chloe Frost, 12, added: “It makes you think about your posts.”