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Cyber bullying campaign launched at school in Bishop Auckland

PCC with pupils at Etherley Lane Primary School

Ron Hogg discusses Cyber Bullying with students at Etherley Lane Primary School

Cyber bullying campaign launched at school in Bishop Auckland

[Article by Northern Echo]

THE father of missing girl Katrice Lee will work with police to raise awareness of cyber safety after his own family were victims of online harassment.

Richard Lee, whose two-year-old daughter disappeared in Germany in 1981, will help Durham Police to discourage children from using technology such as the internet, social media, online gaming or mobile phones to be abusive or unkind to others.

Police and crime commissioner for Durham, Ron Hogg, has enlisted Mr Lee to help the force create an educational programme to deliver in primary schools and talk to pupils about his experiences.

His family was contacted via Facebook by a woman who falsely claimed to be long-lost Katrice then sent abusive messages to her mother and sister. She was convicted of harassment earlier this year.

Mr Lee, of Hartlepool, said: “I’ll tell my story and the effect it had on my family so children can understand the devastation pressing the send button can create.

“A lot of these people are faceless, they don’t see or consider the person on the receiving end and while it may feel like the end of a film to them for the person they’ve sent it to it can just be the beginning of a nightmare.

“Hopefully Ron Hogg and I can become quite a duo to tackle this problem at grassroots, to talk to children when they are young and change their attitude and encourage them to think more about their actions.”

Today (Wednesday, November 20), Mr Hogg launched his cyber bullying campaign at Etherley Lane Primary School, in Bishop Auckland.

He said: “Young people can be vulnerable online, they should be enjoying their childhood and benefiting from technology so we need to do what we can to prevent them becoming victims.

“We want to discourage cyber bullying, help people recognise it and know what to do about it. The messages apply to all ages.

“I also want to work with social media sites to make it easier to stop online abuse once it is identified and I want to make sure it is considered as a crime if it crosses a threshold.”

Headteacher Karen Bennett said: “Through a range of activities we are empowering our pupils to take a lead on creating a future without bullying, using technology to promote positive communication.”

Posted on Wednesday 20th November 2013
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