The mother of a teenager targeted with offensive remarks on a local social media page, has urged parents to stand together ‘to fight the war on cyberbullying’.
The mum has said she will be writing letters to every local MLA and MP calling for the law to be updated to adequately address these issues.
“It seems the police don’t really know what to do about this,” said the mum who has not been named to protect the identity of her daughter.
“This is something that affects so many people because Facebook is a part of almost everyone’s life.
“We need to be asking Facebook and the PSNI ‘what are you going to do about this?’ They need to wake up to the realities of the distress and levels of teen suicide rates caused by this.
“Facebook have to change their policy. The most they do is take these pages down, but then another new one springs up and it’s a chain that never ends.
The mum has also welcomed a warning issued by Banbridge PSNI that those posting offensive remarks could ‘find themselves guilty of offences under harassment legislation’. Last week she spoke to the Leader about her disappointment when police told her ‘there was not much they could do about it’.
In the statement police urged parents to monitor their children’s use of social media.
Constable Clive Delaney, Banbridge Neighbourhood Policing Team said: “People are posting offensive messages. Social media is the same as any public forum - these comments are out in the public domain and those who are posting could find themselves guilty of offences under harassment legislation.
“ They could also face civil action from injured parties.
“It may seem like a bit of fun but anyone who indulges in bullying and harassment of this nature should be aware of the consequences. When we receive a complaint of this nature we will investigate and where offences are detected, action will be taken. A criminal record is no laughing matter and has far reaching consequences on education, travel and employment opportunities.
“I am asking parents to sit down with their children and speak to them about responsible use of social media. Take an interest in what they are doing and make it clear that once a comment is posted, it is there to be investigated.
“If you become aware of offensive messages, the social media site should be contacted in the first instance so that they can take action. We are also here to address any concerns and investigate where appropriate and can be contacted on the 101 non-emergency number.
“Remember - if you wouldn’t say it in public, don’t post it on social media!”