Campaign is a great way to communicate vital message

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Bullying in any form can have a massive impact on the victim.

In the worst cases, the physical or mental torment of somebody can result in them feeling so desperate that they take their own life.

As our lives have become more and more computerised, one of the worrying developments is online bullying, where cowardly ‘trolls’ can say the most hateful and hurtful things from behind a shield of electronic anonymity.

For young people growing up, achingly self-conscious and desperate to be liked by their peers, being targeted on social media can be devastating.

So we applaud Portsmouth City Council for using National Anti-Bullying Week to launch a new campaign to try to combat the rise of cyber-bullying.

Called Beware of Lurking Trolls, it is being funded by the Portsmouth Safeguarding Children’s Board.

It cleverly uses vibrant artwork, stickers, posters and a full colour children’s book to get the message across in an accessible way that bullying in any form is totally unacceptable and also gives advice about what to do if you are a victim.

The great danger is that children and young people are so traumatised by cyber-bullying that they don’t feel they can tell their friends or family.

So anything that encourages them to come forward has to be welcomed.

All Year 4 children across the city will get a copy of the book and copies will also be available in libraries for other school pupils to read.

The key is to get the younger generation to engage with the story and what it is trying to say by using real-life situations.

The internet offers so much to our children.

Logging on can open up a whole world to them.

But we all have to face up to the fact that there are dangers out there and cyber-bullying is one of them.

So as well as the council’s excellent campaign, there is also a need for parents to do what they can to educate their children and supervise their internet use.