'Teenage girls getting several requests daily to send nude photos', warns anti-cyberbullying expert

Children’s behaviour is becoming more sexualised at a younger age as they are trying to grow up too fast, a leading anti-cyberbullying expert is warning.

Jim Harding, founder of cyber watchdog Bully4U, set-up 10 years ago this month, provides training to both primary, secondary school children and teachers on the dangers of cyber-bullying, said the “the world of the internet is now even less safe than it was as this world reinvents itself so quickly under new guises.”

He said children have virtually stopped using Facebook because their parents are using the social media app meaning children do not want their behaviour to be monitored too closely - writes breakingnews.ie

Mr Harding said: “Reviewing the past 10 years, Bully4U has found the internet world for children has changed significantly and there are a lot more predators in the cyber world waiting to prey on unsuspecting children.

“They know that children are using social media platforms at much younger ages and in far greater numbers. The age of 13, largely flouted by social media apps as the common introductory age, is a lie.

“From dealing with thousands of children in classrooms nationwide over the past 10 years, the organisation has found that children as young as nine are regular users of social media platforms.

“Snapchat and Instagram are now the most popular app used by children and younger teenagers, with 80% of 10-year-olds using them. As a result, and due to them not wanting their mums and dads to know what they are doing on social media, children have virtually ceased using Facebook.

“The Snapchat app has given children the false belief that they can send material of a risqué nature and that it will then disappear, which is not the case. This has fuelled a tsunami of sexting amongst Irish children.

“Teenage girls are receiving several requests daily to send nude photos. Bully 4u have been asked to speak about the dangers and consequences of sexting to children.”

Mr Harding continued: “Children’s behaviour is becoming more sexualised at a younger age as they try to grow up too fast. The objective of our children is to have the most friends/likes and they are motivated by the concept of being popular, and as a result, there can be a hierarchy of popularity in schools.

“Four out of five children are playing violent video games which are not age-appropriate and leads to bullying behaviour, while children as young as nine are visiting video chat apps and sites like Omegle, Melon, youlive, Ouvu, Periscope and known predators trawl this sites in their efforts to groom children. These apps did not exist when Bully4U was set-up.

“Ten years ago the advice to parents would have been to monitor children’s usage of the internet by keeping the laptop in the family room, now with several ways of accessing the internet in the home children are still being left to monitor and supervise themselves, despite numerous warnings.

“The toxic anonymous Ask.Fm, the anonymous question-and-answer website has largely been replaced by Saharah which is equally as bad.”

High profile cases of teenagers taking their own lives due to cyberbullying include; 15-year-old Phoebe Prince who died in South Hadley, Massachusetts in 2010 after moving there from Clare, Ciara Pugsley (15) from Dromahir, Co Leitrim and sisters 13-year-old Erin and Shannon (15) Gallagher from Ballybofey in 2012.

Randomised video-chat websites have been in existence since Chat Roulette was launched nine years ago in 2009. Chat Roulette currently has developed an X-rated reputation and the site discourages teenagers from using it.

“I have serious concerns that video-chat websites are being exploited by paedophiles to obtain and coerce images. The State needs to block websites which allow predators to exploit children. There is technology out there to block these sites.”

Read more news of Dublin on our site.

'Teenagegirls anti-cyberbullyingexpert
If you notice an error, highlight the text you want and press Ctrl + Enter to report it to the editor
I recommend
No recommendations yet


Comments are designed to communicate and discuss the features of an enterprise or event, as well as to find out the interesting questions on it.

A number of Ulster Bank customers are currently being impacted by an issue with the bank’s Anytime and Mobile Banking services. In a statement Ulster Bank said that it was aware that there are some issues on its Anytime and Mobile Banking services, and that it is working to fix them. The bank advised customers that its telephone banking and ATM services have not been impacted by the problem. "We are aware that customers are currently experiencing issues lo...
TWO national school teachers and an accountant have been spared jail for their part in a violent brawl in a well-known Dublin pub. Teachers Michael Davitt and Seamus O Cearra, as well as accountant Conor Shannon all walked free from court today after admitting violent disorder charges in the 10-man melee. A fourth accused, warehouse manager and soccer team captain Stephen Cantwell also avoided a prison sentence while a fifth, electrician David McSweeney wa...
Two people have been hospitalised with serious injuries and a man arrested on suspicion of drink-driving following a collision in Co Wexford. The two-car crash happened at The Leap in Clonroche at around 8.30pm yesterday evening. A man and woman, both in their 50s, were taken by ambulance to Wexford General Hospital. The driver of the second car, a man in his 50s, was arrested at the scene on suspicion of drink-driving. He has since been released from cust...
Long-standing plans to deliver hundreds of new homes on the site of the former Player Wills cigarette factory on Dublin's South Circular Road have come up against yet another obstacle. Documents lodged in the High Court showed the site's Nama-appointed receivers, Paul McCann and Stephen Tennant of Grant Thornton, are locked in legal proceedings in an effort to remove a company operating a salvage business from the site. The case relating to the tenancy rig...
Health Minister Simon Harris has been told his decision on whether to grant access to a revolutionary new drug for children with a rare degenerative condition is one of life or death. Families, friends, supporters and sufferers of spinal muscular atrophy (SMA) gathered outside the Dail yesterday to call for access to the drug Spinraza. The only drug ever manufactured to treat SMA, a degenerative neuromuscular disorder, it is licensed, available and changin...
Storm damage at the ploughing championships has forced organisers to cancel the second day of the event. More than 100,000 people had been scheduled to attend Ireland's largest annual outdoor event outside Tullamore, Co Offaly. However, two delayed openings were not enough to save the National Ploughing Association (NPA) event, after tents were badly damaged by the gusting winds. NPA assistant managing director Anna Marie McHugh said the organisers will no...
A dream holiday to Ireland turned to tragedy for a tourist who died after her caravan was blown into the sea as Storm Ali battered the country. The woman, named locally as Elvira Ferraii from Switzerland, had arrived in the Clifden area of Galway the day before the tragic incident. She rented a caravan and was staying at the Clifden Eco Beach camping and caravan site in the Claddaghduff area, along the Atlantic coastline. At around 7.45am yesterday the car...
Teachers Michael Davitt and Seamus O Cearra and accountant Conor Shannon all walked free from court yesterday after admitting violent disorder charges over the 10-man melee. A fourth accused, warehouse manager Stephen Cantwell, also avoided a prison term while a fifth, electrician David McSweeney, was jailed for six months. Passing sentence, Judge Brian O'Shea said the teachers were "ambassadors for their schools" whenever they went out and they had "let t...
ESB Networks says 39,000 homes, farms and businesses are still without power this morning after StormAli crossed the country yesterday. Repair crews workedthrough the night, but 1,600 individual faults remain on the network. It says it hopes to restore power to everyone affected today. ESB Networks Operations Manager Derek Hynes said most repairs are in the Cavan/Longford, Monaghan and Mayo areas. He saidcrews need to get to 1,600 locations today andwarned...