independent

Thursday 17 April 2014

Cyber-bullies target teenage girl in vile campaign of abuse

The gaelscoil in Ballincollig Co Cork

A SIXTEEN-year-old girl was left traumatised by a vile campaign of internet abuse in which she was targeted for sick sexual references by teenage boys.

The girl, a student at Colaiste Choilm in Ballincollig, Co Cork, is now being supported by the school and her shocked family.

She was deeply upset by the comments posted about her on the Facebook page 'Colaiste Choilm Memes' over Christmas.

The page was launched on December 10 but only became active on December 16.

Initially, the content involved humourous references to named teachers and celebrities.

However, from December 19 the content became nasty in tone and focussed almost entirely on the 16-year-old girl.

When she was made aware of the postings by concerned school friends, she initially dismissed them.

"That is just sad ... .you are actually so sad," she posted.

However, as the content became more vicious and offensive she became upset and begged for the posts to be taken down.

In response, the girl was taunted with vile sexual references by a number of page users, all believed to be teenage boys.

The school and the girl's family only became aware of the cyber-bullying last Friday.

Her family declined to comment on the matter last night to protect the teen's privacy amid fears she could be targeted for further cyber-bullying.

Principal Michelle Sliney said the incident was taken very seriously by the school authorities and the student was being given every possible support.

Welfare

"Our first concern is for the welfare of our students. We were made aware of this page and have followed all steps to get the page removed from Facebook," she said.

"We have now been successful in doing this. But this experience highlights again the need for a unified approach to the prevention of cyber-bullying in order to ensure the well-being of our teenagers," she said.

The school has 950 students in its English-language section and 300 students in the Gaelscoil. A large number of students expressed their disgust at the page's treatment of the girl and several promised to report its content.

Facebook last night removed the page involved which, at 2pm yesterday, had over 400 users indicate they 'liked' the page.

Facebook stressed that it urges all its one billion users worldwide to report any instances of abusive or objectionable content.

It is understood efforts are being made by the school to confirm the identity of the person who set up the page and those who posted the offensive comments and images.

Irish Independent

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