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Last Updated:  Tuesday, 18 March, 2003, 19:22 GMT
Experts debate text bullying
School pupils
Tragic problem: The conference aims to highlight the issue of bullying
A conference has heard how playground bullies are turning to modern technology to threaten their victims.

Delegates to a two-day debate on the problem have heard that children can escape threats and abuse in the classroom only to find text messages and e-mails from their tormentors when they arrive home.

"Now children come home from school and the phone rings and there can be a text message - or an e-mail - saying 'we'll get you tomorrow'," said Carmarthenshire's early years development officer, Karen Pereira.

The county council is holding the debate to promote the anti-bullying strategy it has drawn up after researching the issue.

Victims

Wales' children's commissioner Peter Clarke is among the guest speakers at the conference, which continues on Wednesday.

Delwyn Tattum, a Cardiff-based anti-bullying expert who claims hi-tech bullying is on the increase, addressed the audience of social workers and counsellors at the Halfway Inn, Nantgaredig, on Tuesday.

Mr Tattum is co-director of the Countering Bullying Unit based at UWIC's Cardiff School of Education and the co-author of a new booklet advising parents on what to look out for if they think their child is being bullied.

His findings, backed by Welsh Education Minister Jane Davidson, show technology has provided bullies with new ways of attacking their victims.

'Tragedy'

"More recent advances in technology have provided bullies with more secretive and insidious ways of communicating their threats - they include mobile phones, texting, faxings or e-mailing," he said.

Mrs Pereira said the council's consultation with family groups had shown bullying was a problem in both rural and urban areas and cut across class barriers.

She said the authority wanted to promote a multi-agency approach, to encourage children to seek help if they are being bullied or knew of others who were being bullied.

"It is a serious problem and will go on being serious problem - we can just aim for people to be aware of it.

"We don't want to wait until there is a tragedy."

The council had put in a bid with Children in Need to establish a three-year post to drive forward its policy, she added.




SEE ALSO:
'Teased' runaway found
27 Feb 03 |  Wales
Text message bullies face expulsion
12 Aug 02 |  Education
Warning for 'bullying' warden
26 Feb 03 |  Wales


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