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Mother of tragic Canadian teen Amanda to raise local awareness of cyberbullying

The mother of a young Canadian girl who took her own life after being bullied online will be coming to Newry to warn others about the dangers.

Amanda Todd was only 15 when she committed suicide at the family home in British Colombia in October 2012.cyberbullying

She had posted videos online to reveal she was being bullied.

The Amanda Todd story has made headlines around the world and the girl’s mother, Carol, has dedicated to raising awareness to help others so that no other family should go through the same tragedy.

Newry, Mourne and Down Policing and Community Safety Partnership (PCSP), in association with PSNI, are hosting these events aimed at helping young people and adults to understand and survive the digital age.

The PCSP will host two cyber safety events in February. The first event, entitled ‘Staying Safe Online: Surviving the Digital Age’ will take place on Friday, February 12, for post-primary students in the local area.

The second event, entitled ‘Staying Safe Online: Understanding the Digital Age’ will take place on Saturday, February 13, and is aimed at parents, educators and adults who work with children.

Chair of Newry, Mourne and Down PCSP, Councillor Mickey Larkin explained: “Digital communication plays a large part in all of our lives and none more so than in the lives of young people. New technology can be daunting and we are all guilty of ignoring things that we do not understand however we think it is vital for the safety of our young people and also parents and educators to make ourselves familiar with the risks and opportunities that the online world brings.

“These two events are aimed at helping young people and adults alike understand the digital landscape, recognise risks and understand the steps they can take to keep themselves safe online.”

Both events have been tailored for the specific audiences attending each day.

Councillor Larkin continued: “We have secured international speakers to attend the events to share their expertise and knowledge. We will welcome Ms Carol Todd (www.amandatodd.com) and Toronto Police College’s Constable Laurie McCann who will deliver presentations on the dangers we can encounter online. PSNI, NSPCC, Childline and Safeguarding NI Board will also facilitate discussion and advise on different aspects of online safety.

“We also welcome Ms Dearbhail McDonald, Associate and Legal Editor of the Irish Independent, who will chair the proceedings.”

Students from post primary schools across Newry, Mourne and Down have been invited to attend the event on Friday, February 12, and adults, parents, educators and adults who work with children can apply to attend the Saturday,  February 13, by contacting Newry, Mourne and Down PCSP office on 0300 013 2233 or emailing pcsp@newryandmourne.gov.uk by Thursday, February 4.

Chief Inspector Andy Freeburn, Newry, Mourne and Down PSNI, said: “We welcome the opportunity to take part in this event and to raise awareness of online safety and the steps we can all take to protect ourselves and our children in this digital age. We all bear a responsibility for helping our young people to make the right choices and to stay safe and these events will help equip us with the information we need.”

Picture: Newry, Mourne and Down PCSP Chair Micky Larkin and Chief Inspector Andy Freeburn, Newry, Mourne and Down PSNI launch the Stay Safe Online cyber safety events which will take place in Newry on February 12 and 13.

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