On November 8th, four Irish Red Cross Youth Members were invited onto Newstalks Lunchtime programme to talk to Jonathan Healy about Cyberbullying, their experience, their worries, and what they thought should be done about it – if anything.
Sean Lennon, Leah Pepper, Rhys Hislop-Holden, and Nikita Duggan, all aged between 15 and 17 years old, shocked Jonathan when they opened up about spending an average of 3 hours or more on social media sites every day.
What was perhaps most surprising was that these teenagers were clearly more concerned about how social media and technology will affect their younger siblings’ generation rather than their own. As young teenagers, Sean, Leah, Rhys and Nikita told Jonathan how they are exposed to subjects and images that even they believe they are too young for, with Leah saying that some people share graphic photos of real life car collisions and sick children on social media sites such as Facebook.
The IRC Youth members had this advice for parents listening in to Newstalk’s Lunchtime programme
– Block any websites that you are uncomfortable with your child using
– Ask for the passwords to social media sites
– Respect your child’s privacy and only check for inappropriate content, conversations and signs of bullying
Sean, Leah, Rhys and Nikita also spoke to Jonathan about the IRC Youth Anti-Bullying Campaign a campaign created as a direct result of a motion passed – by Youth Members – at the National Youth Forum in 2011. Continuing the tradition of youth-lead programming by the IRCY, empowering youth to become peer educators and make real changes in their communities.
The Anti-bullying Campaign sub-group, which is composed chiefly of members under the age of 18, has been developing ideas for building a culture of non violence and peace in line with this year’s World Red Cross and Red Crescent Day 2012 celebrations. The sub-group are developing ideas and projects around bullying in schools, discrimination, cyber-bullying and LGBT bullying.
So far the sub-group, with the support of the National Youth Working Group (NYWG) and the Youth Department, issued awareness-raising wristbands to all youth members who attended the National Youth Challenge 2012.
They have also launched a slogan competition, and the winner will see their slogan used to promote the campaign nationally in 2013.
Tom Doyle, NYWG member said “Bullying is something that has has been experienced by nearly everyone at some stage in their lives. IRCY is taking action, to highlight and combat bullying on a national level by asking young people to lead the way in creating a more peaceful and tolerant environment for everyone.”