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Last Updated: Tuesday, 14 November 2006, 16:47 GMT
Pupil attack video posted on Bebo
Bebo website
A video of an attack on a pupil at Antrim Grammar was posted on the site
An attack on a pupil was recorded and put on a website, a Northern Ireland grammar school has revealed.

It was videoed on a mobile phone and put on the Bebo website. Antrim Grammar School called the police, but using the internet in this way is not illegal.

Principal Janet Williamson said she wants more safety controls on the site.

Bebo is a "social networking" website which allows young people to build personal pages, with profiles and pictures, and communicate with friends.

Ms Williamson said a school's name could be placed on the site without its permission.

"We would not ask for that and have no authority over that and cannot remove the images on it, so we would like to have some form of moderation.

Janet Williamson
Janet Williamson wants more safety controls on the site

"Secondly, there needs to be a check to verify that the person who is putting their name onto the Bebo site is actually the person they say they are."

Ms Williamson said efforts were being made to try and bring more regulation to the site.

"There are quite a few people looking into this at the moment, the Children's Commission, we have had police from England giving us advice and the North Eastern Board," she said.

"Last week the Association of Head College Teachers raised this with the Department of Education but at the minute it seems as if no-one has any teeth to actually do something about this."

On Monday, the married couple who set up the site visited Dublin to respond to criticisms that the site is being used for pornographic and sectarian purposes.

This followed a BBC Newsline investigation in which reporters were able to use fake identities to access material.

Michael and Xochi Birch founded Bebo, which they describe as the next generation social networking site, in January 2005.

The site, which gives young people their own webspace, has become a huge hit with students in Ireland, in particular with children as young as 13 regularly visiting it.

But concerns have been raised in Northern Ireland by school principals and children's charities that some people have been using fake identities to put pornography and sectarian literature on the site.

There is also evidence that material posted on Bebo has been used to bully and harass both other students and occasionally teachers.

One school principal voices her concern over Bebo

Safety tips for social networks
04 Jul 06 |  Technology


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