I have worked in mental health providing psychological interventions to people experiencing emotional distress for over 25 years. More recently I have been involved with the University of Northampton as a trainer of staff working in schools. Many teachers and support staff are hungry to learn strategies aimed at supporting children and young people with mental health difficulties.

I would estimate that at least half of the adults I have worked with are victims of bullying and or abuse (physical/sexual). The schools I work with are increasingly concerned about the threats associated with on- line behaviour.

I attended the CyGen conference and found myself being enthralled by the work taking place in this crucial area. Many of the presentations resonated with my experiences as a therapist, as a father and as a supporter of staff working in schools. Whilst we should never forget about the many cyber benefits gained by children and young people I was struck by the worrying phenomenon of inescapability that means that mistakes can return to haunt, and bullies can now follow children home, on their telephones, their tablets and their lap top computers.

My take-home reflection, however was linked to the importance of parents, teachers, and caring adults listening to their own internal advisor. If we are uncomfortable about children’s behaviour or on -line threats we must be curious, we must find the time and we must check out whether children and young people are being made vulnerable to exploitation, bullying or abuse. A great day at the CyGen conference.

Dr Mike Scanlan – Mental Health Consultant &

Chair: CyGen Professional Advisory Group

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