On Monday I became a fully fledged Super CyberMentor for the peer-mentoring social networking site cybermentors.org.uk. The charity Beatbullying set up CyberMentors in response to the finding that 70% of young people are open to taking advice from their peers online.
I have joined a group of 1,900 young people, aged 11 – 25 who have also been trained to offer help about any bullying issue within the safe environment of the CyberMentors website.
During my time online I was amazed by the speed and variety of the messages coming in from young people who use the site. I started out in the general chat room where young people asked me whether it was better to ‘keep the peace’ or ‘stand up for what you believe in’ – there was no small talk and it was straight to the big questions!
The issue of what to do when a classmate hits you every time the teacher’s back is turned came up, which progressed into a one to one mentoring session using the private messaging facility. It was wonderful being able to support someone so quickly and easily. I can see why over 200,000 young people have used the site since March, it offers a safe place where they can share problems and get practical advice all in a matter of minutes.
Very soon we will be working with Beat Bullying to offer CyberMentoring training to all the young people who were part of our Manchester Conference Social Action Project, the Radcliffe Boys and Girls club. I am delighted that they are being offered the opportunity to be part of this innovative project.