Recent cases in which young people have taken their own lives, because of cyber bullying, points up one of the darker manifestataions of the IT age and how it is impacting on young and sometimes vulnerable people.
Cyber bullying has entered the lexicon because of its apparent prevalency and owing to the virulent nature of the abuse that is being perpetuated at many consoles and terminals. It is a form of bullying which is effectively carried out by remote control.
The lack of face to face contact , and the associated anonymity, are the ideals conditions to breed bullying.
Teenagers, and even younger kids are in many ways to the forefront of this continually developing technology and yet, in many cases, they are proving to be the victims of it as well. The vitriol and vehemence of some of the comments posted on social websites amongst teenagers is astounding.
Children as young as seven or eight now have online access, through one medium or other, and the number of chat websites is increasing and becoming more sophisticated.
For parents, it is very difficult to police, because of the huge number of websites and their transient nature.
Equipping kids to use the internet responsibly and to deal with these sites has to be a priority. Greater public awareness is one step, but it is truly tragic that it takes the death of any young person to highlight it