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Friday, 07 March 2014

Scottish Government commission research into cyber-bullying

Written by The Editorial Team

Research is to be carried out for the first time in Scotland to help deal with the "new challenges" posed by online bullying, Learning Minister Alasdair Allan said.

The work, which will look at how bullying and cyber-bullying overlap and the most effective ways of dealing with them, has been commissioned by the Scottish Government.

Mr Allan said many youngsters do not "consider online insults to be the same as bullying in person".

But he stressed that abuse online could be "just as devastating as any other form of attack" to victims.

Mr Allan said: "This research, the first of its kind in Scotland, will help us protect people from online bullying. It will help us see where there is overlap between face-to-face abuse and online attacks. Importantly, it will also give us an accurate picture of how young people and their families are affected and how we can best support them."

The work is being done in partnership with the anti-bullying service respectme, whose director Brian Donnelly said: "This research will enable us to help parents and professionals get a clear national picture of how young people are experiencing bullying in 2014.

"Crucially this will support and influence effective responses that recognise relationships play out online and face-to-face more than ever."

Mr Allan stressed: " Online bullying - like all forms of abuse - is utterly unacceptable."

He added that cyber-bullying does "present new challenges to the traditional ways we would recommend dealing with the situation".

He added: "Whether we like it or not, many young people do not consider online insults to be the same as bullying in person and we must be clear that online abuse can be just as devastating as any other form of attack."

Mr Allan and Children's Minister Aileen Campbell hosted a special summit last year to deal with the issue, bringing together groups working with young people and leading figures from the digital sector.

Mr Allan said that had shown " it was clear that all of us are taking steps to help people stay safe online and highlight where people can turn for help".