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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 December 2006, 16:08 GMT
Police and Bebo in hatred talks
Bebo screengrab
Concerns have been raised about the Bebo website
Police have met representatives of young people's website Bebo to discuss how to tackle sectarian taunts online.

After the murder of 15-year-old Michael McIlveen in Ballymena in May, threats were posted on the social networking site against a number of teenagers.

Teachers and pupils from the town were also at the meeting where they explored ways of curbing sectarianism online.

Superintendent Terry Shevlin said the meeting with Bebo's head of social responsibility was "extremely useful".

"The internet brings the world into our living rooms and provides a great educational tool for everyone.

We welcome the opportunity to talk to anyone that will reduce the level of risk to anyone within our society
Terry Shevlin
Ballymena police head
"However, unfortunately sometimes the internet can be a place which opens the door to risk."

The meeting was attended by representatives from Ballymena's post-primary schools and Dr Rachel O'Connor of Bebo.

Dr O'Connor is an expert on internet safety who was appointed by Bebo earlier this year.

Mr Shevlin said the "multi-agency approach" had raised some useful issues.

"We welcome the opportunity to talk to anyone that will reduce the level of risk to anyone within our society," he added.

Threatening posts and sectarian taunts began appearing on Bebo shortly after Catholic teenager Michael McIlveen was killed.

Bebo is one of a growing number of social networking websites which allows young people to build personal pages, with profiles and pictures, and communicate with friends.

The company has safety tips on its website and emphasises personal and parental responsibility.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
BBC Newsline's Tara Mills reports from Ballymena



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