AdaptiveMobile, provider of mobile subscriber protection for enterprises and individuals, has issued a stark warning to both mobile operators and parents that the cyber-bullying of schoolchildren highlighted by recent research in Ireland is actually an escalating international problem.
The survey, carried out by Trinity College Dublin, questioned nearly 2800 pupils from eight secondary schools and shows that children as young as 12 are being targeted by cyber bullies through various forms of communication including mobile phone calls, text messages and e-mails.
Other disturbing findings are that one in seven students have been targeted by bullies via their mobile phones or the internet, with one in eight boys questioned having been 'cyber-bullied' in recent months.
As a result, the Irish Government has been criticised for failing to respond to this growing problem. However, Lorcan Burke, CEO of AdaptiveMobile, asserts that this is a problem facing many more countries than Ireland: "The problem of cyber-bullying in Irish schools concerns me at a personal level, but my experience of dealing with mobile operators around the world shows me that unfortunately Ireland is one of dozens of countries suffering a growth in cyber-bullying, especially in mobile phone harassment.
"Children and teenagers are typically the fastest adopters of mobile technology, which means they are the first to realise the benefits of mobile access and content, but also the drawbacks. We want parents to know the real risks that exist and also to encourage them to work closely with their children and mobile service provider for a safer mobile experience for their child."
AdaptiveMobile is said to be working with mobile operators to safeguard their infrastructure and enable them to deliver appropriate controls to ensure a safe mobile experience for teenagers and children. Its parental controls are multifaceted, allowing parents to block applications, phone numbers and sites, or allow certain technologies in a limited capacity. It is encouraging parents to become an active partner in their children's mobile experience, working closely with their mobile service provider to get the best level of protection available.