As schools break up for the year, police and experts have warned parents to be on guard for cyber bullying, which spikes during the holidays.

Police regularly witness an increase in cyber bullying among children when they’re off school. “During school holidays kids have more access to, and more time with, the technology,” NSW Police Acting Commander of Operational Programs Steve Johnson said.

Australian Primary Principals Association president Dennis Yarrington said students often felt freer to cyber bully during the holidays because they didn’t have to turn up to school on Monday and face the consequences of their actions.

“There is potentially less supervision … Students feel they can make comments without necessarily being followed up,” he said. “In the holidays who do kids go to [if they’re being bullied]?”

With different groups during the holidays, which can create more opportunities for fallings-out, sharing of online details with strangers and inappropriate use of social media. Bullying escalates far more quickly online than in the physical world.

– Cosima Marriner

Read more: Cyber bullies come out to play in the school holidays