Teen sets up campaign to fight online bullying
An Ashburton teenager has launched an online anti-bullying campaign to collect messages of support for victims.
The 17-year-old, who wants to remain anonymous, set up a Facebook page and blog as part of the Plea for Help campaign, an initiative where people can post letters of support to victims of bullying.
The year 12 pupil said she was inspired to start the campaign by Canadian Amanda Todd and Australian Olivia Penpraze, two teenagers who posted online videos about their experiences of being bullied. Both girls later took their own lives.
"I watched their videos and I thought it's really disgusting how people can do that to other people, so I'm trying to support these people and trying to raise awareness about bullying," she said. The teenager said she had not been bullied but had seen people she knew being bullied.
One boy at her school had been harassed on Facebook and a girl she knew had been tormented by an adult.
"He said she was a slut and everyone believed it and no-one talks to her any more."
The project went online last week and had already received a couple of letters of support, she said.
She hoped people who were being bullied would read the letters and know they were not alone.
"I think it's important to know that bullying is not OK. It's not easy to go through bullying and it's very hard to face it alone. I want to show them that people support them and do care about them," she said.