Fine Gael TD for Limerick, Party Chairperson, and President of the Irish Association for Suicidology, Dan Neville, has called for increased policing of social media websites to tackle cyber-bullying.
“Social media sites present huge problems to parents and to society in general as they allow bullies into the homes and the private lives of those they are targeting. Smartphones have increased the power of bullies as they can access potential targets anytime, anywhere. Ask.fm presents a unique and even more worrying problem due to the anonymity it allows its users. Increased policing is necessary to protect young people from the dangers of these sites.
“I appreciate the opportunities that these sites present but they should not be able to do so at any cost. I understand that Ask.fm is introducing a new measure whereby users can block people they no longer want to interact with. This is a step forward but I still have a serious issue with the fact that comments can be left on someone’s page anonymously. It is very easy for manipulative and destructive people to hide behind their keyboard; it should be compulsory for these people to put their name to a comment.
“All social media sites present dangers to young people and the best way to combat these dangers is through education. Parents and children alike must be educated to ensure that social media is not misused and that they are aware of best safety practices.