Parents warned on cyberbullying risk over Easter break
The Irish Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (ISPCC) has warned the Easter holidays will not put an end to the misery of bullying for school children.
It has advised parents to be vigilant to the issue of cyberbullying, as school breaks often mean a rise in calls to its childline service.
On average, 23 children contact the service each day to talk about bullying, almost the size of an average classroom of children. Many of these calls relate to cyberbullying and its effects, the ISPCC said.
Last year, more than 8,000 children contacted the body about the issue of bullying.
Grainia Long, ISPCC CEO, said cyberbullying is a distinct and serious form of bullying.
"The fact that many children have constant access to technology means that bullying online can be pervasive - entering a child's home, and often with no 'let up'," she said.
"A single message about a child is sometimes repeated by a network of perpetrators, often leaving children feeling deeply isolated."
The ISPCC Shield anti-bullying campaign has been running during the month of March and has highlighted the issue of bullying.
In its final week, the particular focus is on cyberbullying.
The body said that the solution is not to remove or ban technology, rather to teach children to be safe online, and support parents to understand and manage risks online.
It has published a policy paper called Cyberbullying: A New Reality in Child Safety, which sets out recommendations for legislators, policymakers and practitioners in this area.
Meanwhile, among the high-profile celebrities to back the Shield campaign are actor Jack Reynor, singer Hozier, actor Keith Duffy, rugby hero Brian O'Driscoll and television presenter Laura Whitmore.
The campaign aims to protect children from bullying and from its effects.
People can support the ISPCC's work by buying the Shield pins and bangles, or texting SHIELD to 50300 to donate €2.