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We are also reaching out to parents. Parentline Plus has produced a leaflet for parents on how to protect children from cyberbullying. That leaflet offers
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measured and practical advice showing parents how to keep their children safe without denying them the positives that technology can bring—it is important to strike that balance. Because most surveys have shown that there are big differences between what parents think that their children are doing online and what children actually say they are doing, it is crucial that parents keep a close eye on what their children do. Right from the beginning, they should be aware of the potentially negative uses of technology. They should instil the right values in their children and the expectation that cyber-bulling is just not acceptable.

At heart, we have to address the culture that allows cyberbullying to flourish. Through personal, health and social education lessons and the social and emotional aspects of learning programme that I mentioned, schools must teach children about the need for respect and tolerance. But we are also taking a more direct route. Last year, we ran a vigorous online campaign on popular sites like Bebo, Yahoo and MySpace. It was called “Laugh at it and you're part of it”, and it aimed to challenge those young people passively involved in cyberbullying—perhaps by observing and filming something that is going on—by showing that sending on a malicious e-mail meant that they were taking part in the bullying, too. It meant that they were part of it.

Evaluation showed that the campaign reached nearly 170,000 young people in its six-week run. More impressively, 84 per cent. of respondents to the survey we conducted after the campaign said that they would now help in a situation where someone was being cyberbullied. The audience were also more aware of the severity of cyberbullying after the campaign: 71 per cent. had seen it as a serious problem beforehand, and that rose to 90 per cent. after the campaign. That is real evidence that we have started to get the message across and that we have started to spark a cultural shift among young people.

I know that some have argued—my hon. Friend touched on this—that technology providers are complicit in cyberbullying, and I have mixed views on that point. Certainly, online channels, by their very existence, provide the oxygen for cyberbullying to survive. Without a medium to broadcast content, the appeal of cyberbullying would probably shrivel, and I agree with my hon. Friend that we need business to raise its game. However, I do not think that the suggestions of a blanket ban on mobile phones, blocks on websites or tweaks to video phones are a feasible way forward. Some schools may choose to ban mobiles—they have that power—but I am not convinced that a wholesale ban would necessarily prevent cyberbullying. It would not necessarily have any effect beyond the school gates.

I understand my hon. Friend’s question as to whether pre-vetting can prevent the broadcasting of content. That makes absolute sense. The problem, however, is the extent to which it is a realistic idea in the context of the extent to which young people are using such sites. Users of YouTube, for instance, upload on average six hours of video every minute. We estimate that it would require 360 people working 24 hours a day to keep tabs on every video. That reveals the scale of the difficulty of monitoring content before it gets posted.

We need collaboration, creativity and consensus in order to keep pace with the threat. In that spirit, we
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have developed the cyberbullying taskforce that my hon. Friend mentioned. It is a forum for internet service providers—they are part of the taskforce—mobile phone companies, teaching unions, charities and law enforcement agencies to work together to find the creative means to stop cyberbullying. The taskforce has played an important role in the initiatives I have already spoken about, and it continues to be important for building consensus on the way forward. Through the taskforce, we will continue to push for more effective solutions to speed up the removal of malicious content, as far as we can, to refine safety precautions and to tighten up terms of use across the industry.

We need to acknowledge what has already been achieved. For example, YouTube has worked with beatbullying to develop an anti-bullying channel; MySpace is working with the Department to develop an anti-bullying webpage, and Vodafone and O2 have contributed to the cost of cyberbullying resources for schools. There is clear evidence that that collaborative approach is paying dividends, and I am sure that there is more to come.

Alongside the cyberbullying taskforce, we have commissioned Dr. Tanya Byron to conduct a wholesale review of the risks that new technology may pose to young people. It will inform a broader strategy, including that on cyberbullying. Dr. Byron is considering the way in which institutions can work together more effectively on child protection issues, which, as my hon. Friend rightly points out, is vital. There is significant join-up across Government—I understand her call for that. For example, Home Office representatives sit on the cyberbullying taskforce. A colleague in my Department regularly discusses such matters with his counterpart in the Home Office. However, we clearly need to make things more seamless at all levels. I think that Dr. Byron’s recommendations will be helpful and I look forward to hearing them.

We all know that behaviour evolves as society evolves, and that new opportunities also present new hazards. In the 1970s and 1980s, racially motivated bullying was the scourge of our schools. It required a concerted response—by teachers, media, the Government and society at large—to make a significant impression. Cyberbullying is in danger of becoming the scourge of 21st century schools. However, I believe that we can make the same inroads against that form of bullying as we did against racism in the 1990s. It will take a similarly broad response across Government, schools, businesses and the community to achieve success. Crucially, it involves mobilising young people, and especially their parents, in the fight against cyberbullying. Through “Safe to Learn”, the cyberbullying taskforce, increased powers for teachers and hard-hitting information campaigns, I believe that we have made an important start.

We have much more to do, but by continuing to work in partnership with providers, schools, charities and families, I am confident that we can claim technology as a force for good in our schools and our lives and not allow it to become a force for ill. My hon. Friend’s concern and pressure for action contribute to that. Again, I am grateful to her for bringing her concerns to our attention and enabling me to say that we share them, to outline what we are already doing to respond and what, with her help, we will continue to try to achieve.

Question put and agreed to.

Adjourned accordingly at eighteen minutes to Nine o’clock.

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Deferred Division

Local government

The House divided: Ayes 257, Noes 164.
Division No. 86]


Abbott, Ms Diane
Ainsworth, rh Mr. Bob
Alexander, rh Mr. Douglas
Anderson, Mr. David
Anderson, Janet
Armstrong, rh Hilary
Atkins, Charlotte
Austin, Mr. Ian
Austin, John
Bailey, Mr. Adrian
Banks, Gordon
Barlow, Ms Celia
Barron, rh Mr. Kevin
Battle, rh John
Beckett, rh Margaret
Begg, Miss Anne
Bell, Sir Stuart
Benn, rh Hilary
Benton, Mr. Joe
Berry, Roger
Blackman, Liz
Blears, rh Hazel
Blizzard, Mr. Bob
Blunkett, rh Mr. David
Borrow, Mr. David S.
Brennan, Kevin
Brown, rh Mr. Gordon
Brown, Lyn
Brown, Mr. Russell
Browne, rh Des
Bryant, Chris
Burden, Richard
Burgon, Colin
Cairns, David
Campbell, Mr. Alan
Caton, Mr. Martin
Cawsey, Mr. Ian
Challen, Colin
Chapman, Ben
Clapham, Mr. Michael
Clark, Ms Katy
Clark, Paul
Clarke, rh Mr. Charles
Clelland, Mr. David
Clwyd, rh Ann
Coaker, Mr. Vernon
Coffey, Ann
Cohen, Harry
Cook, Frank
Cooper, rh Yvette
Corbyn, Jeremy
Crausby, Mr. David
Cryer, Mrs. Ann
Cummings, John
Cunningham, Mr. Jim
Cunningham, Tony
Curtis-Thomas, Mrs. Claire
Darling, rh Mr. Alistair
David, Mr. Wayne
Davies, Mr. Dai
Davies, Mr. Quentin
Dean, Mrs. Janet
Denham, rh Mr. John
Devine, Mr. Jim
Dismore, Mr. Andrew
Dobbin, Jim
Donohoe, Mr. Brian H.
Doran, Mr. Frank
Dowd, Jim
Drew, Mr. David
Eagle, Angela
Eagle, Maria
Efford, Clive
Ellman, Mrs. Louise
Etherington, Bill
Fitzpatrick, Jim
Flello, Mr. Robert
Flint, rh Caroline
Flynn, Paul
Follett, Barbara
Foster, Mr. Michael (Worcester)
Francis, Dr. Hywel
Gapes, Mike
Gibson, Dr. Ian
Goggins, Paul
Goodman, Helen
Griffith, Nia
Griffiths, Nigel
Grogan, Mr. John
Gwynne, Andrew
Hain, rh Mr. Peter
Hall, Mr. Mike
Hall, Patrick
Hamilton, Mr. David
Hamilton, Mr. Fabian
Harvey, Nick
Havard, Mr. Dai
Healey, John
Henderson, Mr. Doug
Heppell, Mr. John
Hesford, Stephen
Heyes, David
Hill, rh Keith
Hillier, Meg
Hodge, rh Margaret
Hodgson, Mrs. Sharon
Hoon, rh Mr. Geoffrey
Hope, Phil
Hopkins, Kelvin
Howarth, rh Mr. George
Howells, Dr. Kim
Hoyle, Mr. Lindsay
Hughes, rh Beverley
Humble, Mrs. Joan
Iddon, Dr. Brian
Illsley, Mr. Eric
Irranca-Davies, Huw
James, Mrs. Siân C.
Jenkins, Mr. Brian
Johnson, rh Alan
Johnson, Ms Diana R.
Jones, Helen
Jones, Lynne

Jones, Mr. Martyn
Kaufman, rh Sir Gerald
Keeble, Ms Sally
Keeley, Barbara
Keen, Alan
Keen, Ann
Kelly, rh Ruth
Kennedy, rh Jane
Khan, Mr. Sadiq
Kidney, Mr. David
Knight, Jim
Kumar, Dr. Ashok
Ladyman, Dr. Stephen
Laxton, Mr. Bob
Lazarowicz, Mark
Lepper, David
Levitt, Tom
Lewis, Mr. Ivan
Linton, Martin
Lloyd, Tony
Love, Mr. Andrew
Lucas, Ian
Mackinlay, Andrew
MacShane, rh Mr. Denis
Mactaggart, Fiona
Mahmood, Mr. Khalid
Mallaber, Judy
Mann, John
Marsden, Mr. Gordon
Marshall, Mr. David
Martlew, Mr. Eric
McAvoy, rh Mr. Thomas
McCabe, Steve
McCarthy, Kerry
McCarthy-Fry, Sarah
McDonagh, Siobhain
McFadden, Mr. Pat
McFall, rh John
McGrady, Mr. Eddie
McGuire, Mrs. Anne
McIsaac, Shona
McKechin, Ann
McKenna, Rosemary
McNulty, rh Mr. Tony
Merron, Gillian
Michael, rh Alun
Miliband, rh David
Miliband, rh Edward
Miller, Andrew
Moffat, Anne
Moffatt, Laura
Mole, Chris
Moon, Mrs. Madeleine
Morgan, Julie
Mountford, Kali
Munn, Meg
Murphy, Mr. Denis
Murphy, rh Mr. Paul
Naysmith, Dr. Doug
Norris, Dan
O'Hara, Mr. Edward
Olner, Mr. Bill
Owen, Albert
Palmer, Dr. Nick
Pearson, Ian
Plaskitt, Mr. James
Prentice, Bridget
Prentice, Mr. Gordon
Primarolo, rh Dawn
Prosser, Gwyn
Purchase, Mr. Ken
Purnell, rh James
Raynsford, rh Mr. Nick
Reed, Mr. Andy
Riordan, Mrs. Linda
Robertson, John
Robinson, Mr. Geoffrey
Roy, Mr. Frank
Ruane, Chris
Ruddock, Joan
Russell, Christine
Ryan, rh Joan
Salter, Martin
Seabeck, Alison
Sharma, Mr. Virendra
Shaw, Jonathan
Sheerman, Mr. Barry
Sheridan, Jim
Simon, Mr. Siôn
Singh, Mr. Marsha
Skinner, Mr. Dennis
Slaughter, Mr. Andy
Smith, rh Mr. Andrew
Smith, Ms Angela C. (Sheffield, Hillsborough)
Smith, Angela E. (Basildon)
Smith, Geraldine
Smith, rh Jacqui
Smith, John
Snelgrove, Anne
Soulsby, Sir Peter
Southworth, Helen
Spellar, rh Mr. John
Starkey, Dr. Phyllis
Stewart, Ian
Strang, rh Dr. Gavin
Straw, rh Mr. Jack
Stuart, Ms Gisela
Sutcliffe, Mr. Gerry
Taylor, David
Thomas, Mr. Gareth
Timms, rh Mr. Stephen
Tipping, Paddy
Todd, Mr. Mark
Trickett, Jon
Truswell, Mr. Paul
Turner, Dr. Desmond
Turner, Mr. Neil
Twigg, Derek
Walley, Joan
Waltho, Lynda
Watson, Mr. Tom
Watts, Mr. Dave
Whitehead, Dr. Alan
Wicks, Malcolm
Williams, rh Mr. Alan
Williams, Mrs. Betty
Wilson, Phil
Winnick, Mr. David
Winterton, rh Ms Rosie
Woodward, rh Mr. Shaun
Woolas, Mr. Phil
Wright, Mr. Anthony
Wright, David
Wright, Mr. Iain


Afriyie, Adam
Ainsworth, Mr. Peter
Amess, Mr. David
Ancram, rh Mr. Michael
Arbuthnot, rh Mr. James
Atkinson, Mr. Peter
Baker, Norman
Baldry, Tony
Barker, Gregory
Baron, Mr. John
Bellingham, Mr. Henry
Bercow, John
Beresford, Sir Paul
Binley, Mr. Brian
Bone, Mr. Peter
Boswell, Mr. Tim
Bottomley, Peter
Brady, Mr. Graham
Brazier, Mr. Julian
Brokenshire, James
Burns, Mr. Simon
Burrowes, Mr. David
Burt, Alistair
Burt, Lorely
Butterfill, Sir John
Cameron, rh Mr. David
Campbell, Mr. Gregory
Carswell, Mr. Douglas
Cash, Mr. William
Chope, Mr. Christopher
Clappison, Mr. James
Clark, Greg
Clarke, rh Mr. Kenneth
Clifton-Brown, Mr. Geoffrey
Curry, rh Mr. David
Davies, David T.C. (Monmouth)
Davies, Philip
Davis, rh David (Haltemprice and Howden)
Djanogly, Mr. Jonathan
Dodds, Mr. Nigel
Dorries, Mrs. Nadine
Duddridge, James
Duncan, Alan
Ellwood, Mr. Tobias
Evennett, Mr. David
Fabricant, Michael
Fallon, Mr. Michael
Farron, Tim
Field, Mr. Mark
Francois, Mr. Mark
Fraser, Mr. Christopher
Gale, Mr. Roger
Garnier, Mr. Edward
Gauke, Mr. David
Gibb, Mr. Nick
Gillan, Mrs. Cheryl
Goodman, Mr. Paul
Goodwill, Mr. Robert
Gray, Mr. James
Grayling, Chris
Green, Damian
Greening, Justine
Greenway, Mr. John
Grieve, Mr. Dominic
Gummer, rh Mr. John
Hague, rh Mr. William
Hammond, Mr. Philip
Hammond, Stephen
Hands, Mr. Greg
Harper, Mr. Mark
Heald, Mr. Oliver
Heathcoat-Amory, rh Mr. David
Hendry, Charles
Herbert, Nick
Hoban, Mr. Mark
Hollobone, Mr. Philip
Holloway, Mr. Adam
Horam, Mr. John
Howard, rh Mr. Michael

Howarth, Mr. Gerald
Hunt, Mr. Jeremy
Hurd, Mr. Nick
Jack, rh Mr. Michael
Jackson, Mr. Stewart
Jenkin, Mr. Bernard
Johnson, Mr. Boris
Jones, Mr. David
Kawczynski, Daniel
Key, Robert
Kirkbride, Miss Julie
Knight, rh Mr. Greg
Laing, Mrs. Eleanor
Lait, Mrs. Jacqui
Lancaster, Mr. Mark
Laws, Mr. David
Letwin, rh Mr. Oliver
Lewis, Dr. Julian
Liddell-Grainger, Mr. Ian
Lidington, Mr. David
Lilley, rh Mr. Peter
Loughton, Tim
Luff, Peter
Mackay, rh Mr. Andrew
Maclean, rh David
Main, Anne
Maude, rh Mr. Francis
May, rh Mrs. Theresa
McCrea, Dr. William
McIntosh, Miss Anne
McLoughlin, rh Mr. Patrick
Mercer, Patrick
Miller, Mrs. Maria
Mitchell, Mr. Andrew
Moss, Mr. Malcolm
Murrison, Dr. Andrew
Neill, Robert
Newmark, Mr. Brooks
O'Brien, Mr. Stephen
Osborne, Mr. George
Ottaway, Richard
Penrose, John
Price, Adam
Prisk, Mr. Mark
Randall, Mr. John
Rifkind, rh Sir Malcolm
Robathan, Mr. Andrew
Robertson, Hugh
Robertson, Mr. Laurence
Robinson, rh Mr. Peter
Ruffley, Mr. David
Scott, Mr. Lee
Selous, Andrew
Shepherd, Mr. Richard
Simmonds, Mark
Simpson, David
Simpson, Mr. Keith
Spelman, Mrs. Caroline
Spicer, Sir Michael
Spink, Bob
Spring, Mr. Richard
Stanley, rh Sir John
Streeter, Mr. Gary
Swayne, Mr. Desmond
Swire, Mr. Hugo
Syms, Mr. Robert
Tapsell, Sir Peter
Taylor, Mr. Ian
Tredinnick, David
Turner, Mr. Andrew
Vara, Mr. Shailesh
Villiers, Mrs. Theresa
Walker, Mr. Charles
Wallace, Mr. Ben
Waterson, Mr. Nigel
Watkinson, Angela
Whittingdale, Mr. John
Wiggin, Bill
Willetts, Mr. David
Wilson, Mr. Rob
Wilson, Sammy
Winterton, Ann
Winterton, Sir Nicholas
Wright, Jeremy
Young, rh Sir George
Question accordingly agreed to.
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