Girls send a message against cyber bullying

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“Stop the hate – deactivate” was the message at Waitaki Girls’ High School’s stand against cyber bullying on Friday.

The school is taking a proactive approach to social networking site Ask.fm, which allows people to anonymously post comments and questions.

The site has been linked to cyber-bullying and deputy head girl Olivia Hay said it has got out of hand.

”Girls have been coming up to us, telling us they have deactivated their sites,” she said.

At lunchtime on Friday, students placed their finger print and signature on a banner, to pledge against using the site.

School guidance councillor Jenny Corlet said it was great to see girls stand up and say they wouldn’t get involved with the site.

”It’s good to see all these groups being proactive about it and make a stand,” she said.

”They are saying: “We don’t understand why on earth people are putting that stuff on it’.”

Sixteen-year-old Katelyn Moore said people are opening themselves up to bullying by connecting to the site.

She said she had seen bullying on the site herself.

Maddie Gibson said the most damaging aspect of Ask.fm is that people can comment anonymously.

”They won’t be seeing the affects,” she said.

Waitaki’s Helen Algar, whose son took his own life in 2003 as a result of cyber bullying, said if you can’t say it to someone’s face, don’t say it hiding behind a computer.

”It’s very easy to say it behind a key board,” she said.

Turn to page three for details of a Parent Information Evening about keeping your kids safe on the internet.

By Jessie Waite