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Last Updated: Tuesday, 6 June 2006, 08:32 GMT 09:32 UK
Teen site moves to block photos
Concerns have been raised about the Bebo website
A website aimed at young people says it is moving to block explicit photographs from being downloaded onto its site.

Sarah Gavin from Bebo UK was responding to an investigation by BBC NI over privacy and child safety issues.

Bebo has become one of the most popular social networking websites with schoolchildren in Northern Ireland.

The move follows concerns from parents and teachers about young people downloading photographs and having inappropriate conversations online.

However, Ms Gavin said Bebo took privacy and safety "very seriously".

A new software system is being considered which would allow site managers to preview all photos manually and move quickly to remove any offensives ones, she said.


"We have a number of features in place to help us protect our users. If there are any reports of abuse we are looking to turn those around within 24 hours," she said.

"As soon as we have a report of abuse from any member, any parent, any teacher, we look to take the pictures down immediately."

Ms Gavin said Bebo was the "number one social networking website in the United Kingdom, Ireland and New Zealand". She said they could not have achieved this without strenuous safety measures.

"Bebo was one of the first social networking sites to partner with wiredsafety.org, a leading internet safety organisation, to create safety tips for Beboers and parents, and we post these prominently on Bebo's homepage and every single page of the site," she said.

Plans are also in place to appoint two people, one in the UK and one in Ireland, to ensure the safety of the site, she added.

Michael McClean, principal of Aquinas Grammar School in south Belfast wrote to parents because he was worried about child safety and privacy issues.

He said that while the majority of students who used the site appeared to do so for legitimate uses, many young people seemed to believe it was private, when in fact, it was not.

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