14 Jun 2010

Mother concerned over classroom cellphone plan

2:50 pm on 14 June 2010

The mother of a teenager who died after being bullied via text messaging is worried about a plan to increase the use of cellphones in classrooms.

A pilot programme is under way involving students at Howick College who are using cellphones to store lesson notes.

But the programme concerns Helen Algar, whose 16-year-old son Daniel Gillies died in Oamaru in 2003 after being tormented through text bullying.

She says increased use of cellphones will provide an increased opportunity for text bullying.

"We need to be very secure in the knowledge that we can manage the use of the technology so that we do safeguard vulnerable kids," she says.

The programme is being assessed by Waikato university professor Noeline Wright who says it is proving to be a faster and smarter way of making information accessible for students born in the technology age.