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Internet: Bullying

Volume 486: debated on Thursday 15 January 2009

To ask the Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport what steps the Government plans to take to address incidences of cyber-bullying. (244891)

I have been asked to reply.

The Government have introduced a comprehensive programme of work to prevent and tackle cyberbullying. We introduced legal provisions in the 2006 Education Act which gave school staff new powers to confiscate mobile phones, and to discipline pupils for bad behaviour outside the school gate, including cyberbullying. We published detailed guidance for schools on how to prevent and tackle cyberbullying in September 2007, and have more recently produced a resource pack for school staff which includes a DVD and a booklet for teachers. We ran a digital information campaign on cyberbullying last year aimed at 12 to 15-years-olds, and re-launched the campaign as part of this year's Anti-Bullying Week. We are currently working with the Cyberbullying Taskforce including industry representatives, law enforcement agencies, the teacher unions and children's charities to produce new guidance to prevent and tackle the cyberbullying of school staff, which we plan to launch in spring 2009. We have asked the Anti-Bullying Alliance and National Strategies to work with local authorities and schools to ensure the cyberbullying guidance is effectively implemented on the ground, and that schools make effective use of the other materials.