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Last Updated: Tuesday, 19 September 2006, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Suicide bid girl 'bullied online'
Kirsty Perkins (picture courtesy of the Daily Post)
Kirsty has urged other children to report online bullying
A teenager who was bullied in school and says jokes appeared about her on a social networking website is warning other pupils to be more careful.

Kirsty Perkins, 14, made a suicide attempt after bullying at school in Pwllheli, and then discovered material on Bebo.com.

Bebo.com - which displays user safety advice - has removed the comments.

A spokesperson for Gwynedd council said Ysgol Glan y Môr's head teacher had spoken to parents and pupils.

Kirsty said her ordeal began in March when some pupils at Ysgol Glan y Môr started calling her names, and the situation became so bad that she tried to kill herself with an overdose.

Gwynedd's school service and Ysgol Glan y Môr consider all forms of bullying as very serious
Gwynedd Council
With the help of friends she is now better, but then last week she was told someone had made fun of her suicide attempt on the website forum Bebo - set up last year so that school, university and college friends could chat online.

Kirsty said: "It's easier for people to say things about you on the internet. People are scared to say things to your face.

"It hasn't been too good at school, people are still being unkind but I have close friends who are helping me, and I'm still glad I spoke out."

Kirsty is now banned by her parents from using Bebo.

"I wouldn't tell other people my age to not use websites like Bebo, but to be careful and to tell someone if they are being bullied," she said.

Her mother Marie said she had only found out about the bullying when she received a phone call telling her Kirsty had taken an overdose.

"I was gobsmacked and just could not believe it. I just didn't realise.

"I just looked at her (after the call) and she burst into tears and told me what had gone on," she said.

Court cases

Liz Cornell, director of anti-bullying website Bullying Online, called cyber-bullying a "huge problem".

Ms Cornell said it was appalling there had been no prosecutions for incidents of this sort, as a few "high-profile" court cases could act as a deterrent.

A Gwynedd Council spokesman said the school headmaster had discussed the matter in full with the pupils involved, as well as their parents.

"He explained that such actions were considered as very serious," said the spokesman.

"Gwynedd's school service and Ysgol Glan y Môr consider all forms of bullying as very serious.

"The schools service has a comprehensive anti-bullying policy which is implemented in all Gwynedd schools," he added.

Bebo said it was working hard to prevent bullying online and had introduced an anti-bullying initiative last week.

"Sadly, children face risks in everyday life, whether playing in their school grounds or on the internet," said a Bebo spokeswoman.

"We are very conscious of this and are working hard to ensure our site is not abused."


SEE ALSO
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14 Sep 06 |  South East Wales
Schoolgirl fight video is removed
14 Sep 06 |  South East Wales
Anger over schoolgirl fight video
13 Sep 06 |  South East Wales
Call for internet safety lessons
07 Feb 06 |  Education
Internet and mobile safety
03 Nov 05 |  Text

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