Wigan mum claims police and schools must treat cyber bullying more seriously after son’s online nightmare

A Wigan mother says police and schools must treat cyber bullying more seriously.

She claims police and her son’s school failed to deal with her son’s cyber bullying and only became interested when physical harm had been inflicted on the young boy.

Charlotte Rodgerson, 40, witnessed the problems bullying can cause first hand after her 12-year-old son was ‘mocked’ on the social media site Facebook.

Even after reporting the incident to police little action was taken and the bullying continued.

Mrs Rodgerson told MM: “I feel like police and school don’t want to know. They have a relaxed attitude towards bulling unless something physical has been done.”

Three boys created a page pretending to be Mrs Rodgerson’s son where they posted pictures of him and commented on the photos insulting the boy.

Even after notifying his school and police it took number of months before the page was taken down.

The school initially claimed that the matter was ‘out of their jurisdiction’ which infuriated Mrs Rodgerson.

“The Facebook page the boys made really affected my son and he was really nervous and worried about going into school,” she added.

“Eventually after I got the police involved the three boys who made page were given a half-day detention which isn’t anywhere near severe enough.”

Even before the Facebook incident the boy had been subjected to three cases of physical bullying which the school failed to take any serious action towards.

Mrs Rodgerson told MM: “Ever since he went to high school he was targeted as he is quiet and doesn’t fight back.

“There are many vulnerable people who are being bullied and not enough is being done to stop it.”

The page was only discovered by Mrs Rodgerson after a teacher overheard pupils mocking her son about comments made on Facebook.

“It is awful that it had been going on and we couldn’t do anything about it,” she added.

“When I informed police they involved the Child Protection Service who contacted the school and after a while the page was taken down.

“The Facebook page was online from September till January, which is was far too long.”

However Greater Manchester Police yesterday launched a guide to staying safe online as part of Safer Internet Day 2014. 

A GMP spokesman said: “Although social media sites are used in a positive way by most people, there are those whose sole aim is to bully and intimidate others, and there are occasions where we have to intervene. 

“Some people use the anonymity available online to be rude or threatening, but I would remind them that there is a common sense line between exercising freedom of speech or making a humorous comment and committing a criminal offence.  

“Just because you can’t physically see someone doesn’t mean they’ll find a comment any less hurtful, abusive, threatening or offensive, and we will track down those who abuse others.

“I’m confident that if people heed our advice and safety tips, and also think before they post messages, then we can help to create a better and safer internet.”

However Mrs Rodgerson’s comments come after a recent tweet by GMP Salford on how to tackle cyber-bullying over Facebook offended many social media users.

The GMP Salford tweet, which has since been deleted, read: “POLICE NOTICE. If you are being ‘Harassed’ on Facebook please follow these instructions: 1. Close your Facebook account.”

“The tweet made me really angry, it felt like they were mocking people who have been bullied,” Mrs Rodgerson told MM.

“It was a really stupid thing to say, it’s like saying if you don’t want to get mugged don’t leave your house.”

The tweet from GMP sparked media outrage and was retweeted more than 2,000 times before being deleted.

A GMP spokesman later said: “The officers who posted this have been spoken to and advised and as soon as we were made aware the correct advice regarding online safety and cyber bullying was put on the social media accounts.

“GMP takes all reports of online bullying and harassment extremely seriously and all such matters are thoroughly investigated.”

Image courtesy of Daniel Fraser, via Youtube with thanks.

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