Wednesday 4 March 2009

No, Let Me Guess - ’For The Children!’, Right..?

Websites such as Facebook and Twitter are fuelling an epidemic of online bullying, it was claimed today.

Research has found one in three British children has been the victim of abuse on the internet.
The definition of ‘abuse’ used? Not forthcoming in this piece, naturally….
The poll of more than 2,000 11- to 18-year-olds, commissioned by charity Beatbullying, revealed that girls are up to four times more likely to face online bullying than boys.
Ah, a charity! With a nice primary-colour website for da kidz, and lots and lots of lovely publicity, awards, news releases, film sponsorship deals, etc.
In fact, it’s been so busy in the last few financial years, it’s been unable to file its returns on time for one of its limited companies.

And yeah. It’s looking like another fakecharity, getting most of its funding from the Association of London Councils, as well as gift aid donations from a sister company (Beatbullying Services Ltd).

And it’s growing – staff costs went up from £224k in 2006, to £353k in 2007. The annual accounts do assure us that ‘no employee received remuneration amounting to more than £60,000 in either year’. Nice work, if you can get it…

And in case the ‘for the kiddies!’ argument wasn’t compelling enough, the teachers are jumping on the same bandwagon:
A second survey, by the Teacher Support Network, also today revealed that one in seven teachers has been the victim of 'cyberbullying' by pupils.

The results were published to launch an anti-cyberbullying campaign, backed by Gordon Brown.
Dear God, is there nothing so trivial that this man won’t try to get some publicity for himself on the back of it? What next, he turns up at Jade Goody’s christening to hold her drip…?
Cyberbullying includes bombarding email accounts with abuse and sending text messages.

Some bullies have even set up Facebook groups allowing dozens of people to band together to abuse schoolmates or colleagues.
You mean, people are mean to each other..? On the Innernets, no less!?

Oh, how I wish I’d stuck to reading just about the human-faced fish. Now my whole worldview is crumbling….
As part of the CyberMentors scheme, advice groups will be set up in schools across the country to give pupils a 'friend' who has been through the same thing.

Volunteers will give up one lunchtime every two weeks to advise victims on how best to deal with the problem. They can either meet face to face, or online.
Well, I guess the schools have time for all this. They aren’t teaching them all that boring reading, writing or adding up, are they…?

But hark! The Great Clunking Fist speaketh:
Mr Brown said: "Just as we wouldn't let them go unsupervised in playgrounds or in youth clubs, so we must put in place the measures that we need to keep our children and young people safe online."
And what are those ‘measures’, Brown? Apart from those already available to anyone who wants them?

Like blocking incoming messages, not visiting ‘hate’ sites, etc? I mean, I’ve yet to see the app that can subject a child to ‘cyberbullying’ if he or she simply doesn’t turn on the PC.

But these moral panics can always rely on someone’s desire to be protected from anything that troubles them:
Georgia Woods, a 13-year-old from Bean in Dartford, signed up to the scheme after being bullied online for a year.

She was constantly sent abusive messages via instant message software, and bullies set up several pages on website Bebo, posting abusive text and commenting on her weight and appearance.

"There was just no getting away from it, and it really, really affected me," she said. "I felt I had nobody to turn to, so I hope this new scheme will give other people in the same situation a way to talk."
‘No getting away from it’? Look, Georgia, bullies are, sadly, a fact of life. But while you might not be able to always avoid the bully in your class, or on the street corner, bullying in cyberspace is actually easier to handle.

Don’t visit the sites that disturb you or write nasty things about you, block incoming messages from non-trusted sources, and job done! Didn’t your parents teach you to deal with your probl…

Georgia's mother, Sarah-Jane Woods, said: "It was just horrible, there was no escape for Georgia. She was effectively being bullied in her own home, and every time she logged on she would see dozens of horrible messages. She got incredibly low, but we are now incredibly proud of what she is doing."
Oh, for pity’s sake! No wonder we are raising a generation of coddled morons who can’t do anything for themselves without a letter from government giving its permission!

Did you try, oh, I don’t know, parenting, perhaps, Mrs Woods, before running wailing to someone else to make it all better? You know, all the things outlined above, plus if that didn’t work, deleting the offending messages for your daughter before she saw them? Or perhaps encouraging her to read a book or play outdoors with RL friends instead of constantly tapping into cyberspace?

Trust me, the bullies will give up if they don’t get the response they are looking for, and move on to another victim. Eventually, they'll grow up. Probably to become politicians...

Still, the bandwagon is off and rolling now:
Emma-Jane Cross, chief executive of Beatbullying, which will operate the new scheme, said: "Cyberbullying is a growing problem affecting millions of children across the UK."
..and a very nice little earner for Emma-Jane, of course.


North Northwester said...

"Emma-Jane Cross" - oh, wow. What a name - where do they get them from?

She's either going to be a schoolyard vigilante in St. trinians combat chic or a VERY strict schoolteacher.
I bet she wears heels and lots of black and makes a good second income supervising stressed businessmen as they clean her kitchen.

Ye gods, I love quangos! They never fail to amuse.


Anonymous said...

The largest contributor to BeatBullying is, as you can see here, is "London Councils" aka the Association of London Councils ie London's council tax payers.

Just an aside, it appears that in the accounts prepared by both fake and real charities, direct bungs from the taxpayer (apart from gift-aid tax refunds on genuine charitable donations) are listed under "Voluntary Contributions". It's analogous to listing employers' NI under "insurance premiums" ie a lie.

Oldrightie said...

Behind this story lies the 24/7 work by the Stazi to provide Snotty with excuses for shutting down the interent.

JuliaM said...

"What a name - where do they get them from?"

Not sure. Wish they'd start sending them back though! ;)

" bungs from the taxpayer (apart from gift-aid tax refunds on genuine charitable donations) are listed under "Voluntary Contributions".."

They, that's a real misnomer. It should be 'Involuntary Contributions'...

"Behind this story lies the 24/7 work by the Stazi to provide Snotty with excuses for shutting down the interent."

Oh, yes. Expect the steady drip, drip, drip of 'The Net is BAD FOR YOU!' stories.

Anonymous said...

So, 59K for a part time job, not bad at all.

Nothing (ethics? aha haha haha ha) stopping you being on the board of a few charidees.

A few mates, each start a charidee and invite each other onto each other's board - clearly you're all qualified, you all already work for charidees.

BTW when did fake charitees begin?

Is it a ZNL thing, or did it start with the tories? Clearly znl are just that bit better at troughing though.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Re what Umbongo says, you have to check fakecharities' accounts very carefully.

The amount they get from the government can be variously in the trustees' statement, the profit and loss account, the cash flow statement, the notes to either of those or merely buried away in a list of donors or clients at the back. They also muddy their trails by routing taxpayers' money through chains of charities, so you sometimes have to go through two or three sets of accounts until you hit the motherlode.

Now that DK has brought the matter to light, no doubt they'll keep a bit more quiet about it in future, instead of openly boasting about it.

If we, the public, just stop giving money to charity, the onus is then on real charities to clearly state in their accounts that they receive not a penny from the government. And as far as I am concerned, Gift Aid relief IS taxpayers' money, bearing in mind that the government decides who is a charity and who isn't in the first place, so under an MW government they can whistle for that as well.