Fareham youngsters taught how to get the better of cyber-bullies

SUPPORT From left, CyberMentors Kimberley Petts, Georgia Edwards, Sarah Ayling, Georgia Dale, development officer with Beatbullying and Jack Lines.  Picture: Malcolm Wells (121228-551)
SUPPORT From left, CyberMentors Kimberley Petts, Georgia Edwards, Sarah Ayling, Georgia Dale, development officer with Beatbullying and Jack Lines. Picture: Malcolm Wells (121228-551)
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YOUNG people have been learning to fight bullying and help others online.

Twenty youngsters, aged from 11 to 19, gave up a day of their Easter holidays to go to Fareham College so they could become CyberMentors, the award winning scheme run by the charity Beatbullying.

The CyberMentors website has been set up as a safe environment where victims of bullying can go to seek help from other young people – many of whom have experienced bullying themselves.

Fareham College student Erika Sillence, from Warsash, approached teachers with the idea for running the training session after the charity helped her turn her life around.

The 18-year-old said: ‘I went on the site as a user because I was being quite badly bullied at school. I don’t think I would have got through it without the charity.

‘After I sorted some things out for myself, I decided I wanted to help others too.

‘I absolutely love helping other people. The most significant thing about being a CyberMentor is that you can make a difference.’

Susie Higgs, youth development and support worker at the college said: ‘We wanted to start a mentoring scheme here at the college anyway, and this has now become the first stage of that.

‘It’s a great scheme. It empowers them, and helps these young people turn a negative experience into something positive.’

Children from secondary schools across Fareham were invited to take part in the day as well.

Saffron Hull, 16, from Gosport, said: ‘I don’t think enough people realise what bullying is and the effects it has on people.

‘For people being bullied online, this is somewhere safe for them to go.’

Kathryn Johnsen, 18, from Stubbington, said: ‘I was bullied throughout school and anyone whatever their age can be bullied or be a bully. I wanted to do this so I can help others.’

Georgia Dale, a senior development officer for the charity, travels the country running the training sessions, She said: ‘They will change lives, and for them to know they’ve had an impact on someone living miles away is very important for them.’

For more information, visit cybermentors.org.uk