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Last Updated: Thursday, 4 November, 2004, 06:39 GMT
Web angels fly in to help teens
Teenangels being trained
Teenangel Brittany Bacon trains up some Plymouth counterparts
An American scheme which protects children from paedophiles and bullying while using the internet is being introduced in schools in Plymouth.

Teenangels are being recruited to work at Stoke Damerel College and Lipson Community College.

They are teenagers who are taught how to protect themselves from paedophiles and cyber bullying while on the net.

They then pass on their know-how to other children. It is also hoped they will visit primary schools.

The internet has become such an integral part of our lives
Teenangel Brittany Bacon
The Teenangels scheme was founded in 1999 in the United States to ensure safe and private access to the internet for all.

The organisation said it believed that since teens were the ones using the internet most, they also were the experts and therefore able to keep "less cyber-savvy kids and adults" safe.

There is just one chapter of Teenangels operating in the UK at the moment in Bradford.

The Plymouth Teenangels are being taught by their American counterparts who have been trained by the FBI, internet experts and top lawyers.

They are warning people about four key areas:

  • Chat rooms - the dangers of meeting strangers on the web
  • Privacy - not giving away personal details which could used by others
  • Pornography - avoiding inappropriate material on the web
  • Cyber bullying - how to deal with peers using messaging to bully

American Teenangel trainer Brittany Bacon said: "The internet has become such an integral part of our lives.

"But with the great things that are available on it, there are also many, many dangers. It's important young people are aware of this and know to do when the situation arises."

Volunteers are encouraged to specialise in areas of the web they enjoy.

Fourteen-year-old Alex, who is interested in web communication, said: "I go on to the internet a lot and I've heard a lot of stories about how people have been victimised by others on the web.

"I've got a chance to help them, so I'm going to take it."

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