Cyberkids a problem

CYBERBULLYING via social media sites such as Facebook has put teenage perpetrators in the firing line and teachers on alert.

Several Clarence Valley teachers have told The Daily Examiner that the introduction of Facebook and smartphones had opened up a myriad of disciplinary problems in schools.

From vicious rumours to lewd photos and videos being posted online involving students as young as 13, the new age of social media is not only creating headaches for teachers, but also for parents.

Some parents contacted by The Daily Examiner said they had to moderate their children's Facebook use to ensure they were not involved with bullying and were using appropriate language.

The Daily Examiner contacted several Clarence Valley schools about the issue yesterday but they did not return our phone calls.

Meanwhile, a Tweed Heads principal has used the school newsletter to send a blunt message to parents.

"GET YOUR KIDS OFF FACEBOOK," Chris Duncan emblazoned on the front of the latest newsletter issued by Lindisfarne Anglican Grammar School.


Mr Duncan said he was prompted to put the message out to parents after dealing with a 16-year-old student who was severely bullied on Facebook.

NSW Secondary Principals' Council president Chris Cawsey said some principals were very concerned about the use of Facebook by students.

But she said the majority of youth used social media responsibly and banning the use of sites such as Facebook wasn't the answer. If used correctly, she said, it provided opportunity for good communication between youth.

However, Maclean-based solicitor Mark Spagnolo warned there could be legal risks in posting information on social media sites such as Facebook.

"It would be unwise to post any information on any person on such a site as you leave yourself open to defamation proceedings and/or other civil or criminal proceedings if what you post is incorrect," Mr Spagnolo said.

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