One of the main problems children face when using social media is Cyber-bullying, and a new Irish Social Network designed for children between the ages of seven and twelve hopes to help stop it. CyberSmarties, which was launched earlier this year, in January 2016 following two years of software development by founder Diarmuid Hudner and his team, aims to stop Cyber-bullying by educating children on how to use social media responsibly.

CyberSmarties is the first safe educational Social Network for primary and special needs schools, and it focuses on the area of Cyber-bullying. It is also a locked down, child authenticated social network for kids that educates them on online behaviour using technology, empathy to promote self-esteem, confidence and self-worth. Special developed behavioural technology, SMART Negative Content filters and Sentiment Analysis continually detect and protect children online whilst also maintaining positive online behaviour from an early age.

The Cybersmarties network has many areas for its young users to explore including a Homework Section, a Coding Section, a Wellbeing Section and an I’m Feeling Bad button.

In the Homework section teachers upload homework which kids can view it at home. In the Coding Section kids are taught how to code through a partnership with Code.Org (Founders of the Hour of Code) in the US. In the Wellbeing Section you can do an online course which focuses on meditation, nutrition, and physical exercise. The I’m Feeling Bad button, sends children nice things other kids have said about them when they are feeling low.

Last April the team behind CyberSmarties were approached by Special Needs Schools who asked if it was possible to develop a social network for young adults with special needs. A separate system was developed as the students were aged between 12 and 18 and the system requirements had to be different as the content was more visually orientated. They have also started a corporate social responsibility program where local businesses co-sponsor with CyberSmarties to allow Special Needs schools to use the software for free, and they aim to have all Special Needs schools using Cybersmarties for free by 2018.

The CyberSmarties team are not resting on their laurels and are moving into the UK in the Spring of 2017 following their partnership with Anti-Bullying Alliance/National Childrens Bureau. They have just completed a major 1st round of Investment for expansion into the UK, US and Australia for 2017 and the Education Dept of the University of Limerick is currently publishing an academic paper on the positive effects in child behaviour as a result of using Cybersmarties.com.

CyberSmarties approaches Cyber-bullying and social media use in a very unique way, based firstly around protection which allows this wonderful safe space to create, make friends and be taught responsible social media usage, using technology which is the pen and paper of how this generation communicate

Schools can use the system themselves, twin with another school or be connected to all schools in the country and more information can be found here.

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